all images ©missyweimer 2017

all content ©missyweimer 2017

Sunday, January 25, 2015

SALT Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul - Art Gallery

SALT was established in 2011 by Garanti Bank and has locations in Ankara and Istanbul. Here, I review the Istanbul location. Sitting on the crowded pedestrian street of Isiklal, the ground level gallery is open to the street (weather permitting).
For starters the facility is top notch. Istanbul seems FLUSH with cash for art! How can I get me hands on some of that $$$?
Six stories of beautiful facilities include two* of my favorite things:
1. A free and clean public restroom (bottom floor).
2. A library. Ok, it's a bookstore called, The Robinson Crusoe 389, but I use it like a library (top floor).
*Extra bonus awesomeness, the top floor has a beautiful patio!
The bottom floor is currently wrapping up a group photography show, Life on Capri. My favorite thing in this exhibit were these redacted and manipulated images by Olivo Barbieri. From a short distance they look like everyday images that maybe you have seen or even taken of a Sea vacation. Move a little closer and one can see the redactions which are both humorous and unsettling. He is my new favorite photographer (for now).

The remaining 3 floors of exhibition space are devoted to Akram Zaatari, photographer, film maker and co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation. The entire thing was very dense and worth a viewing, but a few things struck me in particular.

Possibly my favorite piece, Dance to the End of Love (2011) is a four channel video installation located on the third floor. This work draws on the worlds largest self-perpetuated public archive of images, i.e. the internet. Here, he explores the ways in which people choose to represent ourselves in the modern age and also how those images are disseminated. Taken from youtube, the video is comprised of clips of Arab youths they have shot and up loaded of themselves, singing and dancing, body building and doing car and motorcycle acrobatics. Surrounding the viewer on 4 screens, one is plunged into intimate and isolated moments which become bragging rights in a public forum. A public viewing of a 'private' video, the videos are in turn thrilling, uncomfortable and at times occasionally, voyeuristic.

Another highlight for me was the reproduction of found negatives. The damaged (either intentional or unintentional) portraits are reproduced large-scale and displayed in pairs. This work is another way in which Zaatati mines the archive. Albeit a more tradition form of archive. These images also explore the representation of self, as well as, touch on his idea of the "opposite of archeology." Which is what exactly...? He does not intent to tell you. The idea of the intentional destruction of a historic record? The uncovering and intentional mis representation of historic artifacts? The imagined and un investigated idea of the future?
These were my favorite things. However, I need to mention a beautiful video, shot in split screen, which interviews (some unintentional) artists and archivists. The video is shot to show the work which is being discussed on the left and the interviewee on the right. Technically, this is a wonderful solution to the trouble of showing and discussing work at the same time, very enjoyable.

You have a few more weeks t check it out, so get going!

There is a more detailed review of Zaatari's work, which I wrote, HERE

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