Untitled (12th İstanbul Biennial), 2011


The 12th İstanbul Biennial, organised by the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts and sponsored by Koç Holding, is set for 17 September-13 November 2011, under the curatorship of Adriano Pedrosa and Jens Hoffmann.

Adriano Pedrosa is the founding director of Programa Independente da Escola São Paulo (PIESP) and Jens Hoffmann, director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco.

The press meeting of the 12th İstanbul Biennial was held on October 20, 2010, in Pera Palas Hotel, İstanbul. The co-curators, Mr. Adriano Pedrosa and Mr. Jens Hoffmann, together with the director, Mrs. Bige Orer, discussed the process of making the İstanbul Biennial. Their conversation addressed crucial questions related to the many biennials currently being realized around the globe, the current state of the İstanbul Biennial, the “Remembering İstanbul” conference, the educational program of the biennial, and the title they have chosen for the 12th edition. Pedrosa and Hoffmann explained their curatorial approach, which attempts to negotiate two seemingly opposing perspectives in contemporary art: art that is concerned purely with aesthetic and formal matters, and art that overtly addresses political and social subjects.

The title of the 12th İstanbul Biennial is “Untitled (12th İstanbul Biennial), 2011”. The title and the visual identity refer to the work of the Cuban American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Gonzalez-Torres is undoubtedly one of the most important artists of the last 25 years, and his work has been featured in numerous international group and solo shows (including the 5th International İstanbul Biennial in 1997, curated by Rosa Martinez). His minimalist, conceptual, formally innovative works-such as the date pieces, the jigsaw puzzles, the paper stacks, the candy spills, the light-bulb strings, the linguistic portraits, and the photographs-are all about aesthetic form, yet they are also about open-ended content, and they frequently address explicitly political subjects. While Gonzalez-Torres’s work will not be displayed in the 12th İstanbul Biennial, his presence will be evoked in numerous subtle ways. “Untitled (12th İstanbul Biennial), 2011” references his particular conventions for titling his work; it also calls attention to a level of communication where language and representation, including names, places, dates, and titles, operate in more abstract and poetic ways. Through his works, Gonzalez-Torres demonstrated that the most successful political moves are ones that do not appear to be political, and that the personal is political and the political is personal.

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