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  • Exhibition view, In Fact, The Elgiz Museum Istanbul, 2017-18
  • Artworks by Olma Hali, Tunca Subaşı-İsimsiz, Pan Yue-Donakalmış Zaman
  • Artworks by Gavin Turk, Chiharu Shiota

Questions of Representation and Referral Posed at The Elgiz Museum

December 15, 2017
Studied Photography at IED in Milan, Italy. Passionate about art, frequent visitor of exhibitions, Widewalls photography specialist and Editorial Manager.

When we look at the art production throughout history in terms of the subject matter, we could deduct that a portion of it is representational, while the other is considered a referral.

As the former tend to translate the world around us through visual language in a faithful manner, the latter tackles it indirectly, leaving many things open to interpretation for both the artists and the audience.

What’s interesting, however, is to see these two seemingly distinct concepts overlay, intercept and ultimately blur each other’s lines.

Having this in mind, the group exhibition currently on view at The Elgiz Museum in Istanbul came to pose a rather interesting question:

How do we re-evaluate the increasingly impossible act of representation in the current post-truth era we face today; through constructed identities and the perception of social identity?


Artworks by Chiharu Shiota, Tracey Emin and Cindy Sherman
Exhibition view, In Fact, The Elgiz Museum Istanbul, 2017/2018, Artworks by Chiharu Shiota, Tracey Emin and Cindy Sherman

In Fact

Featuring a mixture of Turkish and international artists, the In Fact showcase brings together seventeen artworks.

Seen in a common environment, they take the viewers on a layered journey, providing a new perspective through the elements they referred to, instead of what they are – although we might sooner come to a conclusion as to what they’re not, in the impasse of uncanny familiar signs and references.

In a more or less direct way, the exhibition aims to re-question and revive the whole concept of representation today; an idea which has been analyzed since the 1980s, after analogies of Simulacra and appropriation became a medium in contemporary art.

Artworks by Thomas Houseago and Erwin Wurm
Exhibition view, In Fact, The Elgiz Museum Istanbul, 2017/2018, Artworks by Thomas Houseago and Erwin Wurm

Works on View

Through perhaps already familiar artworks, such as Tracey Emin’s photograph Sometimes… or Gavin Turk’s self-referential blue carpet, the In Fact exhibition starts the debate on representation.

Chiharu Shiota, Japan’s artist at the Venice Biennale, questions a reality we know exists but is indescribable with her State of Being, in form of a hollow dress. The issue of social representation through our realities, on the other hand, is talked about in the work of Özlem Günyol.

In Sketch for a New Body, Bengü Karaduman portrays an ongoing, yet unfinished state of being, while Volkan Kızıltunç’s video addresses the notion of performing through the act of posing.

Similarly, İhsan Oturmak probes the boundaries of enforced definitions.

Through portraits, artists Hale Tenger and Cindy Sherman delve into the notions of identity, both personal and collective.

Artworks by Ragıp Basmazölmez, TUNCA and Liu Chin Hai
Exhibition view, In Fact, The Elgiz Museum Istanbul, 2017/2018, Artworks by Ragıp Basmazölmez, TUNCA and Liu Chin Hai

A New Selection from the Elgiz Collection

In Fact, an exhibition of works by 16 artists from the collection, is on view at The Elgiz Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, through April 30th, 2018.

Including works of different media, it investigates the models of representation through the referred and the very act of referring.

The full list of participating artists: Ragip Basmazölmez, Jim Shaw, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Cindy Sherman, Tracey Emin, Chiharu Shiota, Özlem Günyol, Tunca, Liu Chun Hai, Hale Tenger, Thomas Houseago, Gavin Turk, Bengü Karaduman, Erwin Wurm, İhsan Oturmak, and Pan Yue.

Featured images: Exhibition view, In Fact, The Elgiz Museum Istanbul, 2017/2018. All images by Kayhan Kaygusuz, courtesy The Elgiz Museum.