Fulya Erdemci, a number one curator of the Turkish artwork scene whose exhibitions had captured the minds of many, each inside the nation and outdoors it, and representative of the country’s contemporary art scene has died. A consultant for the Istanbul Biennial, the place Erdemci served as director from 1994 to 2000, mentioned that Erdemci died of most cancers, however didn’t present her age.
“We will miss Erdemci and her kind soul immensely, and keep appreciating her works that touched the lives of many who accompanied her,” the Istanbul Biennial wrote in a statement posted to social media on Wednesday.
Born in 1962, Erdemci grew to become the director of the Istanbul Biennial in 1994, the yr after she acquired a graduate diploma in artwork historical past from Columbia University in New York. For a lot of her profession, she remained primarily based in Istanbul, though she continued to keep up a presence on the worldwide biennial circuit. Early in her career she showed a passion for art, urbanism and the geopolitics of Istanbul. In 2002, she started the Istanbul Pedestrian Exhibitions, a breakout public exhibition in Turkey and would go on to co-curate a second iteration in 2005 with the Turkish-Swiss contemporary artist Emre Baykal.
She went on to grow to be a co-curator of the 2002 Bienal de São Paulo, the 2007 Moscow Biennale, and the 2008 Biennial of Art in Public Space in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2011, she organized the Turkish Pavilion on the Venice Biennale, which that yr was given over to Ayşe Erkmen, who created a monumental set up meditating on the Italian metropolis’s water filtration techniques.
Erdemci’s many curatorial credit embrace the 2013 Istanbul Biennial, which she themed across the energy of the individuals to shift discussions and create new discourses. Most of her different reveals came about within the public sphere, nevertheless, and she or he thought of that sort of curating to be her specialty. It was Erdemci’s 2013 Istanbul Biennial, “Mom, Am I Barbarian?,” that introduced her a few of the biggest consideration.
That present took as certainly one of its beginning factors the Gezi Park protests, a wide-scale rebellion led by Turks beginning in 2013 that tried to carry consideration to points akin to censorship within the media and governmental abuses of residents’ rights. In tribute to the truth that many protesters gathered on the titular park, Erdemci had tried to put lots of the artworks in public areas, however that proved unattainable amid the fraught political local weather in Turkey on the time.
In 2020 she was appointed the curator of the KØS Museum of Art in Public Spaces in Denmark. “The public domain is for me where the event happens: society meets, diverse thoughts are juxtaposed and dialogue begins,” she said at the time. “Today we experience ‘a new normal,’ which presents new challenges for the art world. We must expand ordinary exhibition formats and our idea of social life and interaction.”
Erdemci will be remembered unequivocally for her commitment to the relationship and confrontation between contemporary art and public space. Speaking to Metropolis M in 2008 about her work at SKOR and her philosophy about the impermanence of public space, Erdemci articulated the tension that guided much of her career.
“Most of the contemporary artworks are not meant to be there forever, the artists want to relate their works to a situation, a moment, the people, to a specific context which is changing in time,” she said. “That’s a challenge for the artist, but it’s also challenging to see what kind of experiments can be done in this respect.”
“This was an uncompromising exhibition about a world in which our shared spheres of collective freedom are rapidly shrinking,” curator Daniel Birnbaum wrote in a glowing Art forum review. “Gone were the warm conviviality and slightly naive hopes of relational aesthetics. Instead, a gloomier and perhaps more realistic atmosphere prevailed in works that relentlessly presented us with barriers and unsurpassable frontiers.”
Beyond the biennial sphere, Erdemci additionally labored in institutional settings. She briefly directed Proje 4L, collector Can Elgiz’s Istanbul personal museum, main it from 2003 to 2004, and served as a curator at Istanbul Modern for a yr after that. From 2008 to 2012, she was the director of the Amsterdam-based SKOR Foundation for Art and Public Domain. Erdemci’s profession was characterised by a real perception that artwork might set off profound change.
“As I see it, art can open up a space for a transformative experience and has the capacity to foster the construction of new subjectivities, symbolized by the barbarian,” she told Ibraaz, talking of her 2013 Istanbul Biennial. “Art can create a reflective experience appealing to our emotional intellect. It encourages us to halt and think about what we really need now in the midst of such turmoil (with increasing state violence, detentions and arrests) and other powerful transformations.”