Didem Doğan

15th Istanbul Biennial, ‘A Good Neighbour’: Pedro Gómez Egaña and Leander Schönweger in Galata Greek Primary School

Two of my favourite works in this Biennial are exhibited at the Galata Greek Primary School. The first one is Pedro Gómez Egaña’s work ‘Underground’. The big hall at the first floor is dark, you are one step above the work, in the middle you see a big installation, a wooden table with iron legs, infact the table is made of several parts separated from each other, but they look like one piece on which a little apartment floor is built: the sleeping room, kitchen, bathroom. After a while you hear classical music and the parts start to move, you realise that there are two performance artists below who are moving the parts. It is as if the house is a separate being, a living creature. It is fascinating! Egaña is a Colombian artist who lives in Northern Europe with music&performance education background; he is also scholar at Bergen University. I become curious and visit his website to see his other works. All of them touch to theme of ‘passing of time’. In his own words: “I make sculptures, immersive installations, phonographic pieces and films that are staged in very specific ways. My focus is compositional, meaning that I place great attention to how images and sounds exist in relation to time and duration. In order to carry out this focus I produce purpose-built spaces, or carefully crafted environments. The way objects and spaces construct a sense of time is central to my practice.”… As I climb the three floors and reach to the top floor I enter inside the white door, another lower door appears I pass that one too, turn left and then another door, smaller this time, I become lost in a labyrinth and start hearing sounds behind the walls: tuktuk. It is as if I’m in a dream (if we think the house represents the psyche in dreams). The sensation is that I got stuck here and there’s no way out. Indeed the artist Schönweger talks about his work in a similar way: “The feeling behind the work is something like being in a surrounding where you are not in control of where to move where you are, but more of being subject of the surrounding being in control of you, the opposite.” It is really genius!