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Haluk AkakceAugust 22 - November 8, 2015

The Art of the Turks. Modernisation as Fiction

The question concerning the definition of art is inseparably linked to that of art’s owner. At the same time, however, it is anything but easy to clarify art’s ownership structures. And it is no wonder when it is claimed by various sides, by the state and capital, religion and enlightenment, by those for whom art is produced and the institutions they have established, by its connoisseurs and the proverbial ‘people’ to whom to directs itself in all its alleged generality and for whom it is supposed to be available everywhere and at any time without presuppositions. It is firstly the artists themselves – especially in practice – who lay claim to art because no others ‘could’ and can as readily and as freely mandate it. The more self-assured the claims to art are advanced and the more absolutely they are enforced, the more controversial it becomes and consequently less available.

There is no such thing as the art of the Turks just as there is no such thing as the art of the Germans, of the Vatican, the Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi or an art of critical practice. The Art of the Turks can consequently only – but after all at least – be a fiction.

Curated by Manuel Graf and Hans-Jürgen Hafner, The Art of the Turks produces a fiction. Based on specially conceived artistic contributions, historical and current artworks, publications and documents, lectures and talks, the exhibition imagines a modern art of the Turks from today’s perspective. The Art of the Turks is the draft of a hypothetical state art that is simultaneously the collection of concrete, historical and contemporary forms of artistic expression and the subjective claims made on art. The Art of the Turks establishes a point of convergence between the most different claims made on art while revealing at the same time the impossibility of such a convergence.

With a.o. Abdullah Frères, Haluk Akakçe, Erdağ Aksel, Fikret Atay, Bedri Baykam, Rudolf Belling, Berthold Reiß, Bruno Taut und Yazbukey


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Haluk Akakçe (1970 – 2023) is a Turkish multimedia artist who explores the role of technology in manipulating human perceptions in the current age. His work thus far includes abstract paintings, animated video projections, and electronic installations, which inquire into...

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