Article by Andrea Ongaro // Mar. 26, 2013
Tanas is a space for contemporary Turkish art that presents itself as a connecting platform between artists and an international audience. Collaborating with leading Turkish institutions, museums and galleries, TANAS follows and presents the rapid development in the Turkish cultural scene of the last two decades. Since the 1980’s, the Turkish art scene has grown tremendously fast, when many artists decided to break with traditional art and look outside the borders of their own country. Wanting to make a Turkish voice heard on the international stage, TANAS was established to encourage a dialogue with curators and artists in Berlin, now known by many as the “art capital” and where a large Turkish community has been established for three generations.
The exhibition at TANAS, opening on Friday 15th, is a group show of 23 artists born between 1968 and 1990 from Germany, Turkey, South Korea, Spain, Israel, South Africa and USA titled “New Kids of the Block”. Ayse Erkmen, who taught at the Städelschule in Frankfurt/Main and now teaches at the Art Academy of Munster, curates the exhibition. Inviting some of her former students, she took the opportunity not only to build a compendium of young artists’ works, but uses the exhibition as a moment of teaching, introducing them to the practical aspects of exhibiting.
All of the pieces are very different and the exhibition is fresh and varied, presenting sculptures, video installations, photographs, paintings and drawings in the big, wonderful, ex-industrial space. Walking through the exhibition may be confusing, because it’s difficult to find a relationship between the works presented by every single artist. Ironically, this aspect makes the exhibition even more interesting and pedagogical, offering an insight into the randomness of works at an art school. The media and the themes the artists touch, each in their very different way, show and represent the internationality of their position and approaches.
It is outstanding how many of these artists are orientated to recycling. Several exhibited works reuse and reinvent not only objects, but also stories and facts, transforming them into something else. This is the case of Sunah Choi, a South Korean artist who was inspired by the barely known history of the TANAS building. Reflecting on the history of those rooms, she collected fragments on the floor, assembling them to create pictures and sculptures. The outcomes are works with an industrial aesthetic that possesses the past, making each piece unique.
Samuel Treindl proposes an intriguing crossover between visual arts and design, his art wedges between the two disciplines. His work questions the properties of the two categories, discussing notions like utility, necessity and (re)use of objects. Treindl brings the conversation on the superfluous, or rather on the non-superfluous. Diverting products from their original use, he creates objects out of objects, recycling their aesthetic, utility and materials in a very clever way.
The show continues until the 11th of May 2013, with standout works from Stephanie Gudra, Üzlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt and Michaela Meise. It’s interesting to see how these artists interpret the present, with many cross-overs of themes and issues. Furthermore from an international point of view, the show displays artists from diverse cultural backgrounds who remain similar in their consciousness. The exhibition is a crack on the present and good fun to visit.