Akaretler Townhouses host 3 shows of various disciplines in Istanbul

In one of Istanbul’s coolest neighborhoods, Beşiktaş, the Akaretler neighborhood definitely stands out with its cobbled streets lined with convenience stores. Row houses, called “Sıraevler”, in the neighborhood fascinate with their historical atmosphere and beautifully restored neoclassical style. These charming buildings are one of the liveliest cultural hubs in the city thanks to the many events and activities they offer.

A work by Emin Çelik from “Lorem Ipsum”.

The houses were built during the period of Sultan Abdulaziz in 1875 by the Ottoman Armenian architect Sarkis Balyan. Adding color to the texture of Istanbul as the best example of civil architecture of the 1870s, they served as accommodation for the main high officials of Dolmabahçe Palace, which was the last seat of the Ottoman rulers at that time. With a restoration project completed in 2008, the townhouses have become an important gathering place in the city for any kind of event.

The historic houses, which have also been awarded the Urban Land Institute (ULI) award in London and represent the second largest restoration project in Europe, host three exhibitions entitled “Made in Love”, “Lorem Ipsum” and “Original by Nature” throughout the month of March. . While “Made in Love” is a solo exhibition curated by contemporary artist Haluk Akakçe, “Lorem Ipsum” is a collective exhibition of Odeabank’s O’Art art platform. “Original by Nature” is presented by Mercado, a next-generation art and design platform.

“Made for Love”

After five years, Akakçe is once again engaging Istanbul audiences with three important video works and a comprehensive exhibition summarizing his productions over the past five years. “Made in Love”, organized in collaboration with the Sevil Dolmacı Art Gallery, welcomes enthusiasts at Sıraevler No: 37-39 until March 22.

The multidisciplinary artist’s audio and video installation titled “They Called it Love, I Call it Madness”, which focuses on four to six blocks of Las Vegas in 2006, and his never-before-seen gigantic paintings are among the elements that make this exhibition important. Akakçe’s videos examine the relationship between humans and technology, sometimes referencing biology, geometry and architecture. These works are most often accompanied by musical compositions specially composed or adapted from an existing classical piece. The hypnotic quality of computer-generated images is further emphasized by the soundtracks of his films.

A work by Haluk Akakçe of
A work by Haluk Akakçe from “Made in Love”.

Akakçe has already exhibited his works in the greatest museums in the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art (2002), Long Island City (New York, 2001), Tate Britain (London, 2004) and Istanbul Modern (Istanbul, 2009) . In his latest exhibition at Sıraevler, the artist’s videos titled “White on White” and “Mr. Butterfly” are also on display. His videos and paintings are accompanied by his latest cut-out murals, sculptures and works on paper.

‘Lorem Ipsum’ typography show

Odeabank’s art platform, O’Art, has a group exhibition titled “Lorem Ipsum”, which showcases the works of nine artists who combine writing and form at Sıraevler No:11. The second exhibition of the season curated by O’Art will remain open for viewing until March 17.

Curated by Begüm Güney, the exhibition consists of works by Berkay Tuncay, Gülen Eren, Leyla Emadi, Emin Çelik, Merve Ünsal, Merve Ertufan, Nancy Ata-kan, Huo Rf and Eylül Ersöz. The theme of the exhibition is “typography”, a word of Greek origin formed by combining typos (form) and graphia (to write), thus the visual, functional and aesthetic layout of the exhibition is based on scientific discoveries. and artistic typography.

A work by Merve Ertufan of
A work by Merve Ertufan of “Lorem Ipsum”.

Imagination is a fundamental element of what powers typography, which is in itself the art of conveying meaning through simple and abstract signs. The “Lorem Ipsum” exhibition presents two opposing approaches where typography becomes a tool or aims to interpret its relationship with today’s art in the form of object-image-sign. The boundaries of abstract and concrete thought, which writing represents, describes, remembers or imagines, are removed. With this exhibition, O’art offers the opportunity to see today’s social issues from a typographical angle.

After the coins have been on physical display for a month, the exhibit will move online to Odeabank’s website.

“Original in nature”

Art platform Mercado’s “Original by Nature” exhibition at Sıraevler No:19 highlights the concept of urban agriculture in the face of the climate crisis. The exhibition’s urban agriculture installation, fueled by upcycling glass and digital art, transforms art into a living system inspired by water. The exhibition will last until March 22.

The exhibition, which aims to show urban agriculture as an alternative proposal in the face of climate change, also draws attention to the food crisis, one of today’s most important issues. “Original by Nature” is actually a sustainability movement inspired by a distillery in Scotland surrounded by pure natural spring water that supports local producers and urban agriculture, returning 96% of the water she uses nature.

In the exhibition we witness the completion of a life cycle in a multi-level project, in which an urban agriculture system working with the recovery of used bottles is at the center. Expired bottles are transformed into works of art by taking on amorphous forms, and plants are grown with the hydroponics method. Plants such as basil, lettuce, and Swiss chard grown in the artwork are harvested during the exhibit and returned to the table and used in meals and cocktails. Then, the bottles used on the table participate in the transformation by joining this cycle again.

Digital works by Ecem Dilan Köse accompany the installation designed by Egemen Kemal Vuruşan by recycling used bottles. The installation is transformed into a living organism, thanks to the violet light embedded in the digital work which nourishes the plants. Köse’s digital artworks as part of the exhibition are expected to be offered for sale later as NFTs, and the resulting revenue will be used in urban agriculture.

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James C. Tibbs