“Hold Me Close to Your Heart”
22 June–21 August 2011
ARTER – space for art
Istiklal Caddesi, 211
ARTER will host Patricia Piccinini’s first show in Istanbul between 22 June–21 August. Curated by Başak Doğa Temür and titled “Hold Me Close to Your Heart,” the exhibition presents more than 20 sculpture, installation, drawing and video works by Piccinini. This compilation of the artist’s works from 1997 to the present also includes her latest work “The Welcome Guest,” produced in 2011 to be exhibited at ARTER for the first time.
Patricia Piccinini looks at what it means to be human in a world of genetic engineering and biotechnology, as well as how these technologies change the relationship between people and nature. She invites the viewer into her strange and wonderful world, populated by hybrid animals and living machines. The world she creates exists somewhere between the one we know and one that is almost upon us. However, what she imagines is neither the nightmare of a future environmental ruin nor the brave new world of perfect scientific progress. Instead she focuses on the internal, emotional lives of the new creatures that might emerge, along with questions about the kinds of relationships that might come to light alongside them. Her creatures, while strange and unsettling, are not threatening. Instead, it is their vulnerability that often comes to the fore. They plead with us to look beyond their unfamiliarity, and ask us to accept them. It is surprising how quickly we grow used to them and in this way she reminds us that this sort of thing is not as far in the future as we might think. We are surrounded by hidden genetic engineering and biotechnology in our food and our animals already. Piccinini’s world is one of questions rather than answers. She does not tell us what to think about genetic engineering, but instead asks us how we might feel when confronted by possibilities.
The exhibition “Hold Me Close to Your Heart” proposes an experience, a journey to another world: one that is simultaneously unfamiliar and strangely similar to ours. Piccinini conceived each exhibition floor to have a distinct atmosphere. Brightly illuminated, the ground floor comments on the shiny world of commodities and the nature of everyday life in a post-industrial urban environment. The first floor is inhabited by invented hybrid creatures. They explore further the contemporary construct of ‘nature’, our place in it, and our attempts to control it. Finally, the most intimate part of the journey, invites the viewer into a homely setting on the second floor, where most of the residents are asleep. It is a meditation on what means to be human today and what our responsibilities might be towards the life we create.
The exhibition’s book aims at accompanying the viewers’ first encounter with Piccinini’s works in Istanbul through essays by the exhibition’s curator Başak Doğa Temür, Donna Haraway, Peter Hennessey and Linda Michael, and an interview with the artist held by Laura Fernandez Orgaz. Each essay sheds light on Piccinini’s practice encompassing diverse formal and conceptual layers from various perspectives to constitute a comprehensive guide for the viewer strolling through Piccinini’s seemingly unusual yet familiar world.
The exhibition “Hold Me Close to Your Heart” at ARTER has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
ARTER – space for art
For more information: www.arter.org.tr
For additional information, images or to request an interview, please contact:
T: +90 212 243 37 67
M: +90 542 216 60 09