Marina Abramović + MAI (Marina Abramović Institute) At Sakıp Sabancı Museum and Akbank Sanat Sponsored by Akbank
30 January 2020
The Akış / Flux exhibition, realized with the support of Akbank, aims to render the history of performance art legible and meaningful for audiences in Turkey and can be visited between 31 January and 26 April 2020. It consists of a comprehensive retrospective comprising documentations of Abramović’s performances, live performances developed through the collaboration of MAI and the artists who responded to the open call and were invited to participate in the project, the section dedicated to Marina Abramović Method, a participatory project comprising of a series of exercises developed by Abramovic through her artistic research, and the documentary viewing and video gallery to be hosted by Akbank Sanat, in tandem.
The Akış / Flux exhibition, which aims to encourage art audience in Turkey to experience performance art, a form of art which has become increasingly popular since the 1970s and is today practiced as a non-object, immaterial and time-dependent interdisciplinary social process, covers three floors of the SSM galleries.
The first floor of the exhibition comprises the video and photographic documentation of Marina Abramović’s performances taken during more than 50 years to represent the artist’s ground breaking career. This section prepared by the French curator Serge Le Borgne in collaboration with the artist herself, presents Abramović’s performances, including iconic ones such as Rhythm 0, Rhythm 10 and The Artist is Present where she challenges her mental and physical limits, as well as her early paintings. The Shoes for Departure, one of the artist’s energy-focused works made with semi-precious stones is exhibited together and in connection with İzzet Ziya’s painting Girl at the Beach from Sakıp Sabancı Museum’s Painting Collection. This section of the exhibition provides a comprehensive view of the past and present of the performance art with a focus on Abramović’s career.
The exhibition’s performance section consists of 15 long durational live performances by 16 artists, 12 from Turkey and 4 from around the world, who were invited by MAI to participate in the project. The performances of Arda Cabaoğlu, Bahar Temiz, Dilek Champs, Evren Kutlay, Halil Atasever, İlyas Odman, Merve Vural, Metehan Kayan and Umut Sevgül, Murat Adash, Murat Ali Cengiz, Şebnem Dönmez and the artists who were invited, namely Maria Stamenkovic Herranz, Nancy Stamatopoulou, Nezaket Ekici and Virginia Mastrogiannaki can be watched at the SSM galleries continuously for 8 hours every day the Museum is open to visitors.
While most of the performances will take place at Gallery 2, a touring one will meet the public at varying sites of the Museum, and yet another will welcome the visitors at the entrance of the Gallery. The artists of this section curated by the Brazilian performance artist Paula Garcia participated in the project through an open call issued by MAI in August 2019 and by personal invitation. They developed their performance projects in collaboration with MAI and prior to the exhibition participated in a week of retreat outside Istanbul together with the MAI team to prepare mentally and physically for their long durational performances.
The exhibition’s third floor at the SSM is dedicated to the Marina Abramović Method, developed by Abramović initially for artists through research and travels during her career as an educator, and later presented to the public. The Method section, where the visitors undergo a communal experience in which they participate through various approaches and techniques, invites the visitors to embark on an exploration on existing in time and space through experiences focusing on motion, motionlessness and concentration.
In connection with the Akış / Flux exhibition, there will be a series of documentary viewings and video-gallery at Akbank Sanat. The viewings present the work of Abramović, other performance artists and artists from various branches of art within a historical and thematic context, enabling the viewers to explore the heritage of the performance art, from its birth to how it has shaped the present. The exhibitions based on the documentary aim at providing an integrated view of the performance art to the visitors who are not familiar with it.
At the press conference held at the SSM with the participation of Marina Abramović and Director of MAI Thanos Argyropoulos, Chairman of Akbank Suzan Sabancı Dinçer, Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum’s Director Dr. Nazan Ölçer said, “We, as the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum are happy and enthusiastic about starting the year 2020 with Marina Abramović, one of the most famous contemporary woman artists. As you know, for many years now, Marina Abramović has not been engaged in live performances, but has continued to advocate the outlook, values and vision she represents through the films of her iconic performances which are still watched with awe as well as through the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) she has founded.
We, the SSM have always, in historical and academic as well as modern projects endeavored to present the past and contemporary artists through careful research, innovative perspectives and unforgettable installations. With this exhibition too, we invite everyone to experience another pioneering artist in the same way, in all aspects and with her messages for the future. Preparing this exhibition constituted a new threshold for the SSM as well. The young specialists of our museum underwent an extremely valuable communications, learning and education process together with the MAI team, in Istanbul for almost two months now.
The Akış / Flux exhibition constitutes a new model for MAI too. This is the first time they have undertaken to implement such a comprehensive project for such a long period under the same roof. That is why the MAI team worked with us at the Museum continuously for two months, prior to the exhibition. They came to know better the performance artists they selected, and they will stay in Istanbul for the duration of the exhibition. I believe that this process is also extremely important for the development of performance art in Turkey.
Undoubtedly, we could not implement a project of this scale without a sponsor who supported us wholeheartedly. Just like our Anish Kapoor and Ai Weiwei exhibitions which we believe were extremely valuable for Turkey’s art and culture, we were able to organize our Marina Abramović exhibition with the unconditional support and trust of Akbank. Thanks to Akbank, we were once again able to provide the art lovers of Turkey with the opportunity to experience international art scene. We are deeply grateful to the Chairman of Akbank Mrs. Suzan Sabancı Dinçer, the Assistant Chairperson of Akbank’s Board of Directors Mr Hayri Çulhacı and Akbank’s CEO Mr Hakan Binbaşgil for their gracious trust and cooperation at every stage of this challenging project. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to Akbank’s Corporate Communications Department Manager Murat Göllü and his team for their wonderful cooperation. ”
Chairman of Akbank Suzan Sabancı Dinçer said, “We are very happy to be hosting, together with the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, prominent representatives and trends of contemporary art here in Istanbul, once every two years. The Rodin, Dali, Anish Kapoor, ZERO and Ai Weiwei exhibitions we organized in collaboration with the Sakıp Sabancı Museum have been welcomed by art lovers with great interest and enthusiasm.
We are continuing to implement such projects which contribute to creating a correct and good image of our country and our city internationally. This year we are very happy to be hosting the international performance art pioneer Marina Abramović in Istanbul. This grand project which will be presented to the public between 31 January and 26 April 2020 is Marina Abramović’s first large scale exhibition in Turkey. In connection with the exhibition at the museum, there will be a series of documentary viewings and exhibitions about Marina Abramović and performance art at Akbank Sanat. I believe that this exhibition will mark the start of a new era for performance art in Turkey.
We have been collaborating with Sakıp Sabancı Museum for many years, and we would like to congratulate and thank the Museum’s Director Dr. Nazan Ölçer and her team for the excellent work they have performed. I would like to stress once again that we are especially proud that we are contributing to creating a correct and good image of Istanbul and Turkey internationally through this exhibition. We wish a fulfilling experience to all visitors.”
The Akış / Flux exhibition will be open at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum and at Akbank Sanat between 31 January and 26 April 2020. It can be visited every day except Mondays between 12.00 pm and 8.00 pm at the SSM, and between Tuesday and Saturday from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm at Akbank Sanat. Visitors wishing to witness all of the various performances at SSM galleries throughout the duration of the exhibition can obtain tickets of multiple entry for a month or for the duration of the exhibition.