A City of Constrasts: Istanbul: Passion, Joy, Fury at MAXXI
The exhibit is a touch of a reality that we might not really know. All the art works on exposition denounce an unbalanced change in the city, but also show creativity and great hope for the future.
Istanbul has always been a melting pot of different cultures and a bridge between Eastern and Western realities. However, the recent and frenetic urbanization of the city is undermining the balance between East and West, past and present, traditional location and modern urbanization. About 40 Turkish artists living in Istanbul have been gathered at the exhibition at MAXXI, Rome, called “Istanbul: Passion, Joy, Fury” to describe the contradictory nature of the city, which is still a source of creativity and vitality, with all its issues.
An exhibition such as this one is not easy to follow. The viewer should immerge in the reality of Istanbul, to feel what the Turkish feel, and understand the contradictory dynamics in the city. To help them in this path, the exhibit has been developed through 7 themes that answers some fundamental questions: A rose garden, Ready for a change? Can we fight back? Should we work hard? Home for hall? To build or not to build? and Tomorrow, really?
Even if most of the areas and themes are not familiar to us, I believe it is impossible to forget the Taksim square protest in 2013 against the demolition of Gezi Park. In the area “A Rose Garden”, artists like Osman Bozkurt, Herkes Için Mimalirk, and Zeyno Pekunlu have documented, with a photo installation and videos, the experience of a population fighting against the demolition of beautiful areas for the sake buildings over buildings.
The whole exhibit is a continuous passage from sculpture, architecture, installation, video, and experiences to feel the urban decay, but also the vitality of a city that, through artists and its citizens, is fighting to find a balance between the urban renovation, old traditions, and modern creativity. And all against a system that seems interested only in building to manage the overpopulation of the city.
One particularly emblematic piece is the installation Two rainbows, by Sarkis (2015), in which a giant neon rainbow slightly covers the photo of a colorful stairway; a stairway that does not exist anymore and succumbed to the modernization of the city.
“Istanbul: Passion, Joy, Fury” is not only an art exhibit, but a touch of a reality that we might not really know. All the art works on exposition denounce an unbalanced change in the city, but also show creativity and great hope for the future. And, although the exhibition is not easy to follow, it is worth all the time spent moving through movies, installations, and sounds. Istanbul is alive and wants to flourish again. Any viewer can feel all those hopes and emotions, and when this happens, art has perfectly done its job.
Istanbul: Passione, Gioia, Furore11 December 2015 – 8 May 2016MAXXIAddress: Via Guido Reni, 4aHours: Tue-Fri 11-19 | Sat: 11-22 | Sund: 11-19