Sunday, February 24, 2013

Borusan Contemporary

Continuing with my let's-play-nice posts, about a month ago, Cagatay and I went to Borusan Contemporary to catch the last day of a neon exhibit, Austrian artist Brigitte Kowanz's Cut a Long Story Short.

As I mentioned in the last post, the Legacy Ottoman hotel building in Eminonu is one of my favorite buildings in Istanbul; as it happens, Borusan Contemporary is housed in Cagatay's favorite Istanbul building, the hard-to-miss Perili Köşk, a gorgeous, turreted nine-story brick building on the Bosporus. [Perili can be translated as either "haunted" or "with fairies."] We've been past many times -- Borusan Contemporary is in my favorite Istanbul neighborhood, Rumeli Hisari -- but I never realized that the building held a museum that you could go into.

Anyway, so we went over there for this little neon exhibit, and I just had no idea how amazing it would be inside. The building is home to Borusan Holding, and it's a regular office building during the week and a museum on the weekends. There's an exhibition space, cafe and gift shop downstairs, but a lot of the art is placed in and around the offices. Add to that its amazing views of the Bosporus and I think it would be a pretty amazing place to go to work.

The exhibition space was devoted to the Brigitte Kowanz exhibit, with an additional few pieces on another floor. While I liked her neon works, I thought the presentation was a little dry. [Having said that, my favorite piece of hers that I've seen is Everlasting Convolution, a roller-coaster-like neon work that I stumbled across on the Internet.]

The most powerful works in the Borusan exhibit were the neon-and-acrylic-glass Spatium and Volumen, in large part because each piece hung solo in its own room, demanding attention.

Brigitte Kowanz -- Spatium
Brigitte Kowanz -- Volumen

The second exhibit was called Segment #3 and was made up of modern works from the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection. It was mostly mind-blowing -- I just really dug the incorporation of the art into the workspace. It was just so odd and interesting to be walking past people's desks and through their offices, especially when they had personal photos and notes up. [Does that sound a little weird? Perhaps it's best kept between us.]

Morellet -- Lunatique Neonly - 16 Quarts de Cercle No 6
Francois Morellet -- drawing for Lunatique Neonly No 3

Segment #3 was made up of a number of neon pieces, mostly from Francois Morellet, but also photographs, videos and indescribable mixed-media works. Some of the pieces also had preliminary drawings to go with them.

The exhibit is up until May 26, so if you're reading this before then and you're in Istanbul, please do yourself the favor of going. (If you can't go, you can see some of the pieces online, but of course, it's not quite the same as experiencing them in person. This particular digital animation by Eelco Brand, seemingly featuring night flowers exploding into fireworks, was especially cool.)

Francois Morellet -- Ready Remake No 1
Francois Morellet Lamentable Ø 5 M Rouge

My favorite piece from Segment #3 was absolutely Francois Morellet's Lamentable Ø 5 M Rouge, sitting at the end of a hallway. A close second was Airan Kang's 21 Books, which changed colors.

Keith Sonnier -- Ballroom Chandelier Installation 
Airan Kang -- 21 Books

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