February 25, 2015 - Van Abbemuseum - Ahmet Öğüt, Forward!
February 25, 2015

Ahmet Öğüt, Forward!

Ahmet Öğüt, Forward! Design: Collective Works, Peter Zuiderwijk.

Ahmet Öğüt

7 March–14 June 2015

Opening: Saturday 7 March, 3pm

Van Abbemuseum
Bilderdijklaan 10
The Netherlands

T +31 (0) 40 238 1000
info [​at​] vanabbemuseum.nl


Forward!, Ahmet Öğüt’s most ambitious exhibition to date, brings together a number of key projects from the past ten years alongside new site-specific commissions created for the Van Abbemuseum. These will occupy the museum’s Old Building but will also spill out beyond its ten galleries in surprising ways.
The work of Ahmet Öğüt (b. 1981, Diyarbakır) is found on the street, on stage, in lecture halls, in the museum or through films, with one form often morphing into another. Working across media, the Kurdish artist transforms different histories or common narratives with a lightness of touch, often using allegory and comedy. Similarly, his involvement in long-term projects and commitment to collaborative working processes, often outside the spheres of art, show an awareness of art’s ability to permeate and affect different institutional, social and political structures.   
Forward!, the title of the exhibition draws on the rhetoric and history of socialist solidarity and progress, specifically drawing on the eponymous workers cooperative in Ghent, which has provided the subject matter for several of Öğüt’s works. The exhibition opens with Bakunin’s Barricade (2015), a new work inspired by the revolutionary anarchist’s proposal in 1849 to place art works in a barricade to stop Prussian troops from passing. Öğüt’s reconstruction is comprised of upturned cars, street scrap and art from the Van Abbe’s collection including pieces by El Lissitzky, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso. The central room, lined with copies of Öğüt’s Diagram for Non-hierarchical Participatory Radical Democracy, will host a number of schools in the Netherlands for a series of workshops, underlining the central role different collaborative and pedagogical structures have played in the artist’s practice. Elsewhere a remake of Ground Control (2007-08), first conceived for the 5th Berlin Biennale (2008), will see a gallery covered in asphalt, a reference to the relentless modernizing project of Turkey and a tacit acknowledgement of institutions’capacity to flatten complex issues.
Experienced together, the different registers of Öğüt’s output, whether through long-term engagements, momentary interventions or the manner in which he addresses the context within which he works, makes the case for the necessity of speaking to politics through art in multivalent forms. 
Commissioned for the exhibition, Reverb is a new work by Öğüt in collaboration with London-based musicians Fino Blendax. Conceived as a multi-channel soundtrack to the exhibition, the new compositions were made in response to works in the show and combine psychedelic, retrofutiristic and synth punk music with Electro Saz. Reverb will be performed live at the Philips Fritz Muziekgebouw in Eindhoven on 7 March as an artist talk in the form of a concert. The tracks will be will be accompanied by especially composed video clips by Öğüt.  

For more information on Forward! you can visit www.vanabbemuseum.nl
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Curators: Nick Aikens and Annie Fletcher, Van Abbemuseum

Collaboration partners
The world premiere of Reverb will be held in the Muziekgebouw Frits Philips in Eindhoven. 

The exhibition Forward! is made possible with the support of Mondriaan Fund and Fonds 21.

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