Adrian Villar Rojas, ‘The most beautiful of all mothers’

Leo Trotsky is one of the prominent figures of the Soviet Revolution. He was deported both from the party and the country due to his opposition during the Stalin period. Before his exile years in Mexico, he lived in Istanbul for four years. We are now at his house on Buyukada shore, the house in the photograph with only its walls standing. Passing by the ruined walls, we are taking a path to the seaside, skipping over the thistles that overrun the place. Dazzlingly white statues placed on...

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'On the verge' Lawrence Weiner

One of the exhibition sites of the biennale was Rumelifeneri which is located at the end of the Bosphorus where the Marmara Sea meets the Black Sea. To be honest we did not know what to expect; we were supposed to cross the sea by a boat but we had no idea if we would land on the shore or just view it from a distance. The Bosphorus came to an end and we passed by the third bridge which is under construction when finally the light house appeared to the left on the European side. We are getting...

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Pursuing the Shadows of History, Nguyen Huy An

Just as with every biennale, in this biennale too they attempted to make a connection between places and art works exhibited there. The work of the Vietnamese artist Nguyen Huy An too has a connection with this place; it is the office of Agos , the weekly newspaper of the Armenian community in Turkey, and also the headquarters of a cultural organization named after the Armenian journalist who was killed recently. The hearts of everybody in Turkey, not only the Armenian community, went out for...

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15th Istanbul Biennial, ‘A Good Neighbor’: Adel Abdessemed’s Cri

The story behind this art work. How did the photograph of a little girl running from napalm bombs become a symbol of the war? ‘The Girl in the picture’: a legendary picture taken by a Pulitzer winning photographer; it has become an image in the collective consciousness of the whole world. The story behind it is quite interesting. During the Vietnam war the international agencies which reported the war were based in Saigon. Their foreign representatives were not directly involved in the war as...

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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...

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The 14th Biennial, William Kentridge and Orhan Pamuk at the Splendid Hotel

The 14th Biennial included the biggest of the Princess Islands in its itinerary and made this remote part of the city an exhibition centre within its conceptual framework ‘Salt Water’. The Splendid Hotel (as if it is taken out from the movie Grand Budapest Hotel), The Mizzi Mansion (which served as San Remo Hotel between 1930-40) and Trotsky House (The Yanaros Mansion) were the spaces where the works were exhibited. The South African artist William Kentridge whose works are exhibited in Hotel...

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