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Translating Worlds

29/11/2023 @ 18:30 - 27/01/2024 @ 18:30

Opening: Wednesday, November 29, 18:30

Curators: Milan Vukašinović & Nilüfer Şaşmazer

Artists: Alev Ersan, Allora & Calzadilla, Annabelle Binnerts, Cansu Çakar, Daniel Otero Torres, Dejan Kaludjerović, Elsa Sahal, Fikos, Lika Tarkhan-Mouravi, Lucie Kamuswekera, Mercedes Azpilicueta, Rehan Miskci, Setareh Fatehi, Stephanie Misa, Walid Siti

Depo, Istanbul presents the Translating Worlds exhibition, which brings together old and new works of 15 artists from Turkey and abroad, between 29 November 2023 and 27 January 2024. The exhibition, which focuses on worldmaking power of translation and the stories that do not recognize linguistic borders, takes inspiration from the academic research conducted in the Retracing Connections project, at Uppsala University. The artists engage with the project’s fundamental texts that travelled between medieval languages and created a common narrative universe, in and around Byzantium. Fables and borderland epics stand together with Buddha’s transformation into a Muslim ascetic and then a Christian saint, and Alexander the Great’s conquests of skies and oceans in kaftan and turban. Avoiding both illustration and imitation, this group exhibition stages diverse approaches of contemporary artists to aspects and concepts of translation, cultural transmission and storytelling.

Offering a resting place to stories that wandered across centuries and languages, the artists grapple with issues of multilingualism, experiences of displacement, borderland subjectivities and colonial legacy. Their works are inspired and framed by the notions of untranslatability, of translation as a collective and prismatic practice, as a liminal experience inspiring admiration and contempt, and as potential practice of care or violence.

While the commissioned artists explore the connections between translation and storytelling, by blending medieval narratives with concepts from translation studies, the artists invited to the exhibition with their existing works establish a dialogue across time and mediums in a new context. As contemporary art encounters the composite Byzantine worlds, it elucidates transhistorical instances of co-creation and communal existence.

The exhibition opening is preceded by a dialogue between Alev Ersan and Matthew Reynolds, moderated by Milan Vukašinović, titled Translation: Multiplicities and Multitudes at Kıraathane Istanbul Literature House, on 28 November, at 19:00. The exhibition opening will feature a free verse conversation between setareh fatehi and Ogutu Muraya around the project (i) your story of me.

With the support of:
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul
SAHA – Supporting Contemporary Art from Turkey
Netherlands Consulate-General in Istanbul
Österreichisches Kulturforum Istanbul
Republic of Austria Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport
Mondriaan Foundation
FfAI – Foundation for Arts Initiatives



29/11/2023 @ 18:30
January 27 @ 18:30
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