- Opening: Thursday 20th April, 18:30
- Dates: 21 April 2017 - 21 May 2017
"Under the Red Sky" brings together war and immigration-themed video works that Pınar Öğrenci made since the end of 2015. "LED Light City Istanbul" (2015) is a means of researching the changing relationship between the shift in the demographic structure through the influx of immigrants, and economy, architecture, language. "Mawtini", made up of YouTube videos, (2016) is about the transformation of the Palestinian and Iraqi national anthems into a popular song. Through the evolution of this anthem, which emerged in the golden age of Arab Nationalism, the artist opens a door to think about the fragmented and layered structure of the notion of the nation in the Middle East. The film series, "A Gentle Breeze Passed Over Us" takes as a departure point the story of Ahmed Shaqaqi, a Baghdadi oud artist that Öğrenci met in Vienna. She records the music that Ahmed and his friends perform across the city, simultaneously. "A Gentle Breeze Passed Over Us" is not a documentary series about immigrants, but it researches a more deeply rooted issue: What is home and what is homeland? Could music construct a temporary space, a home for the immigrant who is in an in-between space? Could it be a tool of grieving or healing? Could the oud that softly slides across the waters of the Aegean Sea become the cultural symbol of a deep culture that is now dispersed all over the world, seeking a place for itself?
"We used to play hide-and-seek under the red sky" (2017) was produced specifically for this exhibition, stemming from Ahmed's Baghdad memories. The sky in Baghdad becomes red with the desert storms coming from the Saudi deserts after the American invasion. Red gives its name to the exhibition not only as a symbol of war in the Middle East, but also as a symbol of fascism and dictatorship that is all across the globe at the moment. The artist, who had to travel almost all of 2016, confronts the notion of belonging, having thought extensively about "home" and "homeland." She produces images on the street and in her daily life, moving images that are in motion, just like her. Immigrants who have been displaced from their countries, the winds of the desert, a song that emerged from Palestine and that has reached the streets of Istanbul, sliding texts on signboards, and an oud that is drifting on blue waters... A journey not only of bodies, but economic and cultural symbols... As Emre Zeytinoğlu points out, this exhibition is first and foremost about Öğrenci's own story.
SAHA – Supporting Contemporary Art from Turkey
Pınar Öğrenci (1973, Van) is an artist and a writer with a background in architecture based in Istanbul. Öğrenci uses various media in her artistic practice, including photography, video, film, performance and installation. Her works address subjects such as migration, war, collective movements, nationalism, cultural assimilation, stories of heroism and urban transformation. Using the video as a tool to record her daily life practices, she benefits from her personal video archive and ready-made footages. Her works have been exhibited widely at museums and art institutions including at Kunst Haus Vienna - Hundertwasser Museum (2017), WKV Stuttgart (2017), Academy of Applied Arts, Vienna (2016), MAXXI Museum, Rome (2015-6), SALT Galata, Istanbul (2015-6), De Las Fronteras Biennial, Tamaulipas (2015), Sinop Biennial (2014), Çanakkale Biennial (2014) and Depo İstanbul, 2012. The artist had her first exhibition at MARSistanbul in 2015, ‘Awaiting the Onset of the Sense of Life'. Her first solo exhibition abroad was realized at Kunst Haus-Hundertwasser Museum in Vienna, ‘A Gentle Breeze Passed Over Us' in 2017.
She is the founder of MARSistanbul, an art initiative launched in 2010. Since the late 1990s, Öğrenci has extensively written on contemporary art and architecture in magazines, including Agos, Radikal, ArtUnlimited, m-est, SALT Online, Arkitera, Arredemento Mimarlık, XXI, İstanbul, among others. She has participated in residency programs and conferences; in HIAP (Helsinki, 2017), Henie Onstad Kunstcenter (Oslo, 2016), R.A.T. (Mexico City, 2015), Willa Waldberta (Munich, 2010), Public Calling Conference (National Theatre Oslo, 2016), Middle East Festival (Henie Onstad Kunstcenter, Oslo, 2016), Plataforma Editable, Desplazamientos Curatoriales: Santiago, Valparaiso, Antofagasta, Tarabaca (Chile, 2015), "New Dynamics in Museums", CIMAM, Rio de Janerio, 2013.