Didem Doğan

'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 closer; a line on the white façade of the light house which looks like a wave in a square. Not so much a line as a curvature to be precise, on the verge of sticking outside the square, maybe going outside it a bit, with a writing next to it: “On the verge” (which means ‘on the threshold’ in Turkish, although they translated it as ‘ramak kala’). The first question that we come up with is: On the threshold of what? On the verge of what? Life? What does this place, where one sea ends and another begins, symbolize? Is this a physical threshold, a spiritual one, or an emotional one? Is this curvature, which tries to go outside a square with fixed borders, the representation of an attempt to move outside a form of thought or a mood? This threshold is a very human hesitation we are all familiar with: to do or not to do, to stay or to go, to start or not to start, to leave or not to leave…One needs to study the previous works of the American artist Lawrence Weiner; this is a series of symbols-mottos in a continuum; short texts in the same font written on the walls of many museums, or a wall outdoors…‘to see and be seen’, ‘as long as it lasts’, ‘as far as the eye can see’, ‘placed on the tip of a wave’, etc. What do these words describe? What thoughts do they inspire? I sense an impressionist approach here, description of a state, or a moment frozen in a few words.