Ádám Kokesch's installations, exhibition view, photo © Servet Dilber, Istanbul Biennial

Adam Kokesch: Untitled, 2013, installation © Servet Dilber, Istanbul Biennial

Adam Kokesch: Untitled, 2012, installation, photo © Servet Dilber, Istanbul Biennial

The 13th Istanbul Biennial – Mom, Am I Barbarian?

Hungarian participant: Adam Kokesch

ACAX | Agency for Contemporary Art Exchange is glad to announce that – as in previous years – the 13th Istanbul Biennial again has a Hungarian participant. Among others the works of Adam Kokesch are on display between the 14th of September – 20th of October 2013 at the central venue of the Biennial.

As an exhibition in a dialogue with the city, the 13th Istanbul Biennial’s focal point is the notion of the public domain as a political forum, in other words the power of public space in terms of social struggles, art and politics. This highly contested concept serves as a matrix to generate ideas and develop practices that question contemporary forms of democracy, challenge current models of spatioeconomic politics, problematise given concepts of civilization and barbarity, and most importantly, highlight the role of art in this context. The biennial sought to imagine the definitions of concepts such as democracy, freedom of expression, public and communal space; and the relationship between urban transformation, art and politics.

In the industrial hall of Antrepo Adam Kokesch presents fourteen installations from the last three years, together with some brand new ones, which were commissioned specially by the Biennial.

“Adam Kokesch’s world is one that is full of illusions meticulously constructed from his observations. The language he creates from signs, objects, codes, models, and environments cuts across many disciplines, including linguistics, architecture, industrial design, information technologies, and cinema. Though inspired by the sublime, Kokesch pursues a type of abstraction that is more down to earth; and, in a post-industrial setting, he interchanges the signs and their meanings with an intriguing humour. His installations, which often refer to laboratories and experimentation, frequently suspend the typical mechanisms and functions of objects and systems to propose new definitions for them. The glossy and smooth surfaces he produces are unexpected, timeless melanges: he renders Bauhaus aesthetics, Malevich’s Suprematist black squares, Tatlinesque Constructivism, and Futurism with a Pop touch. They almost reflect the viewers’ gazes, challenge their positions as viewers, and attempt to condition them to a different perception that transgresses the binary codes and formulations. The installations are smooth and precise, simultaneously concrete and uncertain. Their open, poetic confidence is unsettling, enticing another dimension of aesthetic and intellectual experience. In addition to experiments with precise, seemingly technical objects and constellations, Kokesch also produces poetic configurations.”

Övül Durmuşoğlu
(detail from the Guide to the 13th Istanbul Biennial)

The curator of the Istanbul Biennial, Fulya Erdemci was invited to Budapest for a curatorial research trip in the frame of ACAX’s Check-in Budapest curatorial visitor program in January 2013. The invitation of Fulya Erdemci was the result of a collaboration between the Association of Hungarian Contemporay Art Galleries and ACAX. Following her visit, she invited the artist to participate in the Biennial. The Hungarian contribution is organised by ACAX and financially supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary.

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