Janet Biggs, Nicolas Daubanes, Elena Kovylina, mounir fatmi, Basir Mahmood, Maro Michalakakos, Rachel Labastie, Jhafis Quintero

& Frank Smith

A project by Barbara Polla, Analix Forever
In collaboration with The Art Department by Casa dell’Arte

November 12 – November 15

The Istanbul Convention and Exhibition centre (ICEC)
11 am – 8 pm / booth n°B1 - 401

The theme of imprisonment, whether physical imprisonment, as in being jailed, or symbolical imprisonment, as in our bodily, mental, and social conditions, is a major contemporary issue, explored by artists in many ways. This theme relates to multiple and universal limitations of freedom and is fundamentally linked to our human condition. In collaboration with artists broadly interested in “art and imprisonment”, as well as with artists who have a very specific, personal experience of art in jail, we have been exploring how art and culture may propose a more opened human environment.

The title, WE ONLY EXIST WHEN WE CREATE, is a reference and an homage to Jhafis Quintero, who spent ten years in prison in Central America and who will present, for the first time, his completed series of ten videos entitled Ten years in Jail. Jhafis Quintero states that creation is a prerequisite for survival. Isn’t creation what makes us human?

Among the artists presented at Contemporary Istanbul, Basir Mahmood (Pakistan) produced the video A Message to the Seawhile an artist in residency at Casa Dell’Arte. In this dreamy video, you see this man, in the water, who doesn’t move, but looks at his boat that flows away. Very reminiscent of the migrants’ issue, although it was realized before it became so important, the video also tells us about the only freedom nobody can take away from us: the dream to be free, floating, to go away, to navigate… Maro Michalakakos (Greece) presents Allerleirauh, a bed closed by brass elements, which evokes the universe of princesses and fairy tales. The title of this work, that of a fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers, is what the heroine decks herself in, fleeing the paternal castle. The beautiful golden bed becomes a metaphorical cage for beauty and desire.  

Janet Biggs, Elena Kovylina, mounir fatmi, Basir Mahmood, Jhafis Quintero & Frank Smith all present video works: video as a potent media for “capturing” attention and time; Nicolas Daubanes’ invisible drawings and Rachel Labastie’s Liberté, Liberté chérie, further aim for freedom while Labastie’s sculptures tell us more about human creation – human brain. WE ONLY EXIST WHEN WE CREATE ! 

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