2/2/2023 - 5/31/2023
Yapı Kredi Culture and Art
Ways of Whispering - Noor Abuarafeh
Yapı Kredi Culture Arts and Publishing is hosting a new exhibition series, titled “Together”, developed as response to its architecture. While its two-floor gallery space will be devoted to two distinct exhibitions, works by both artists will be exhibited together in its central spacious ‘white cube’. The exhibition series “Together”, which comprises works commissioned by Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts’ support, will debut between 3 February-31 May 2023, with Sena Başöz’ “Possibilities of Healing” and Noor Abuarafeh’s “Ways of Whispering” exhibitions as its first legs. Both exhibitions are curated by Didem Yazıcı and Burcu Çimen.
Bringing together artists who, despite living in utterly different geographic settings, share common artistic approaches and fields of research, this exhibition series will address matters of common urgency. The most striking common feature between Istanbul-based artist Sena Başöz and Jerusalem & Rotterdam-based artist Noor Abuarafeh consists in their equal focus on archive. Both artists generate universes where imagination and reality intertwine. Inquiring into how history is built, documented and interpreted, Sena Başöz builds surreal narratives centred on the body, striving to imagine possibilities for healing from the disorders provoked by collective traumas, while Noor Abuarafeh addresses historiography through its ties with collections, the formation of nations, and colonial legacies. Both artists, whose works tackle such common issues as healing, remembering, and archive, operate across a wide range of mediums, including photography, video, sculpture and found objects.
In order to invigorate the archive, and reconsider it from a different perspective on the occasion of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic, bearing in mind their common fields of interest, curators suggested that both artists direct their research efforts on the Selahattin Giz Collection, within Yapı Kredi’s Historical Archive. This collection, consisting of 35.000 photographs, mostly taken, and partly collected by Selahattin Giz (1914-1994), documents Turkey’s social life and economic and political agenda during the first quarter of the 20th century. The original works produced by Sena Başöz and Noor Abuarafeh as the outcome of their research within the archive will be jointly displayed in the exhibition.
Sena Başöz’ new installation titled Parade, created for the exhibition “Possibilities of Healing”, is as multi-layered as Beyoğlu itself. Showing performers carrying heavy building blocks as they walk down Istiklal avenue, and using those blocks for the game they are playing, the work is a video installation comprised of sculpture and performance, acting as a reminder of Beyoğlu’s ever-changing identity, rebuilt over and over again, upon buildings erected over different periods.
Sena Başöz and Noor Abuarafeh will both enact performances during the exhibition. Sena Başöz’ performance Slalom (2021-2023), which the artist will present for the very first time in Turkey, assumes new shape according to the archive content which the artist connects with through different institutional contexts. The performance attempts to revivify institutional archives, as objects that pursue a form of immobile existence, standing against the forces of nature, within the growingly thin time that is left to us by the climate crisis.
As for Noor Abuarafeh’s conferential performance on show during the exhibition, “Last Museum: Museum of Museums” (2017), it addresses the near future of museums. Within the particularly straining period which the world is going through, in spite of the sharp opinions being loudly spurted, the exhibition indulges in imagining such a common ground that would allow for everyone to find their own whispering methods, open up to healing possibilities and eventually loosen and ease off.
The exhibition accompanies a book, bearing the same title, published in Turkish and English by Yapı Kredi Publishing, edited by Fisun Yalçınkaya, including essays authored by Eva Vaslamatzi on Sena Başöz and Lara Khaldi on Noor Abuarafeh, the exhibition’s curatorial statement, as well as a joint interview carried out by curators Didem Yazıcı and Burcu Çimen with Sena Başöz and Noor Abuarafeh.