Alessandra Cianchetta
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Alessandra Cianchetta
Istanbul Art Biennial
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Istanbul, TU

A-Z Brief Project is a collaboration with artist Ania Soliman on the occasion of the Istanbul Art Biennial 'Saltwater' and the exhibition held at the Pera Museum
Inside The Thing There Is Nothing 2015 (Drawings, plaster and concrete cannonballs, temporary sculptures, vinyl wallpaper)

Courtesy the artist.
Produced with the support of Maya Oeri and Hans Bodenmann, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Culture pl. and Consulate
General of Poland in Istanbul.

Pera Museum was one of the venues of the 14th Istanbul Biennial from 5 September-1 November 2015.

Drafted by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, 14th Istanbul Biennial with a number of alliances included works by over 80 participants from all over the world. Pera Museum was taking part in the biennial with a work inspired from its Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Anatolian Weights and Measures Collection. Saltwater took place in museums as well as temporary spaces of habitation on land and on sea such as boats, hotels, former banks, garages, gardens, schools, shops and private homes.

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev states, “Salt water is one of the most ubiquitous materials in the world. Sodium in our bodies makes our neurological system, and thus our vital systems, work; it literally keeps us alive. At the same time, salt water is the most corrosive material threat to the digital age: if you drop your smart phone in fresh water, you can dry it and it will probably work again. If it falls into salt water, chemical molecular changes in the materials of your phone will break it. When you visit the 14th Istanbul Biennial, you will spend quite a bit of time on salt water. There is a slowing down of the experience of art due to the travel between venues, especially on ferries. That is very healthy: salt water helps to heal respiration problems and many other illnesses, as well as calming the nerves. This sprawling exhibition spans from Rumelifeneri on the Black Sea, where Jason and the Argonauts passed searching for the Golden Fleece, through the winding and narrow Bosphorus, a seismic fault line which opened as a water channel some 8500 years ago, and down to the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara towards the Mediterranean, where ancient Byzantine emperors exiled their enemies and where Leon Trotsky lived for four years from 1929 to 1933. It presents over 1500 artworks, some very tiny, including over fifty commissions by artists as well as other visible and invisible manifestations such as materials from the history of oceanography, environmental studies, marine archaeology, Art Nouveau, neuroscience, physics, mathematics and theosophy.”

Born in Warsaw in 1970, the daughter of a Polish mother and Egyptian father, Soliman grew up in Bagdhad; now she lives and works between Paris and New York. Her practice explores the representation of ‘nothing’, through drawing, text and objects, and how we construct value and identity. Inside the Thing There is Nothing is the title of her project for Istanbul, hosted in the Pera Museum. Here, she piles and ponders objects from the Museum’s collection of weights and measures, and presents inaccurate casts of cannonballs, almost ghosts of themselves, that represent the zero degree of value. One large all-black drawing is a fragment of an Arabic script ordering the shift from the dirhem weight scale to the metric. What is a thing that has no value? How do we embody nothing? The first chapter of an ongoing ‘thought project’ that imagines a post-digital art institution with a communal imaginary, a utopia that would succeed the museum with fixed parameters, Soliman’s work concerns museology, psychoanalysis and economics – it displays display.

Courtesy the artist.
Produced with the support of Maya Oeri and Hans Bodenmann, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Culture pl. and Consulate General of Poland in Istanbul.

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