In her wide ranging cross-disciplinary practice, Banu Cennetoğlu uses objects, images, texts, and printed matter to continuously scrutinize, contemplate, and question the position of the artist/individual vis-à-vis and within the complex geopolitical conditions of our time.
Her work presents a mode of hyper-reflexivity that advocates for perseverance and introspection in this moment of unrestrained expressionism. Cennetoğlu’s exhibition at SculptureCenter presents a number of works that deal with the gathering, presentation, circulation, and residue of information, data, and images.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is 1 January 1970 – 21 March 2018 · H O W B E I T · Guilty feet have got no rhythm · Keçiboynuzu · AS IS · MurMur · I measure every grief I meet · Taq u Raq · A piercing Comfort it affords · Stitch · Made in Fall · Yes. But. We had a golden heart. · One day soon I’m gonna tell the moon about the crying game (2018), a moving image work that presents the totality of the artist’s visual archive from June 10, 2006 to March 21, 2018. This epic project—for which the artist decided not to choose a single title—reimagines what an artist’s retrospective might be: the period of time it documents is bookended on one side by the beginning of Cennetoğlu’s facilitation of the public circulation of UNITED for Intercultural Action’s List—a growing document that traces information related to the deaths of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants within or on the borders of Europe since 1993—and on the other by the production deadline for the work’s premiere at Chisenhale Gallery in London in 2018, which coincided with Nowruz, the vernal equinox that marks the Persian new year.
Chronologically arranged, 1 January 1970 – 21 March 2018 comprises 128 hours and 22 minutes of still images and videos sourced from various devices – including Cennetoğlu’s mobile phones, computers, cameras, and external hard drives —in an unedited stream of content. Cennetoğlu refers to the work as an “intro-spective” that brings together scattered, fleeting moments of a life lived, from the birth of her daughter to moments of political upheaval and protest; documentation of her artistic practice; images sent to her by colleagues, friends, and family for various reasons and with different intentions; to banal footage of everyday life. In the words of writer Negar Azimi, H O W B E I T presents the social history of Cennetoğlu’s oeuvre and opens a daring, unedited portrait of the artist.
In addition to Guilty feet have got no rhythm the exhibition includes the complete 142 volumes of Cennetoğlu’s newspaper projects to date, for which the artist collects and binds a compilation of all newspapers published in a country in a single day. The quantity of papers per capita is of course indicative of the possibility of speech and tolerance for plurality of voices in a given country. Gathered together for the first time, this collection not only pays homage to the waning printed news, but further explores the way that information is mediated and disseminated in more and less free societies.
Banu Cennetoğlu brings together a selection of works by the artist that consider how we create our own narratives, histories, and memories as we confront large bodies of information produced for or by us. Upholding a cogent form of aesthetic engagement, the artist invites us to consider how our individual positions and actions are in constant negotiation with the larger structures and events that shape our lives. By tying together personal and public archives, Cennetoğlu’s work not only reinforces the maxim that the personal is political, but insists that it is also and inevitably the other way around.
Banu Cennetoğlu is the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Curated by Sohrab Mohebbi, Curator, with Kyle Dancewicz, Director of Exhibitions and Programs. The exhibition is accompanied by a color publication with a joint contribution by Sohrab Mohebbi and Thomas Keenan, Director of the Human Rights Project at Bard College.
Banu Cennetoğlu was born 1970 in Ankara, Turkey and lives and works in Istanbul. Previous solo exhibitions include: Chisenhale Gallery, London (2018); Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn (2015); Salonul de proiecte, Bucharest (2013); and Kunsthalle Basel, Basel (2011). Selected group exhibitions include: Stories of Almost Everyone, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); documenta (14), Athens and Kassel (2017); The Restless Earth, Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan (2017); 10th Gwangju Biennale (2014); Manifesta 8, Murcia (2010); 53rd Venice Biennale/Pavilion of Turkey (2009); 3rd Berlin Biennale (2004); and 1st Athens Biennale and 10th Istanbul Biennial (both 2007).all images © the gallery and the artist(s)