Respiro by Sarkis

Respiro by Sarkis

Türkiye Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Image by A Practice for Every Day Life, London.

February 12, 2015


9 May–22 November 2015

Opening: 7 May

Sale d’Armi Nord

Curator: Defne Ayas (Director of Witte de With)
Commissioner: Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV)

Respiro, an installation by the influential conceptual artist Sarkis will be presented in the Pavilion of Turkey at the 56th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia. The installation will be on exhibit at the biennale to be held from 9 May through 22 November 2015. Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), the Pavilion of Turkey is curated by Defne Ayas and is located at Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, in the main venue of the biennale. 

“I will be reaching out beyond geopolitics, to a more expansive context of a million plus years, going back to the creation of the universe and the beginning of time, back to the first-ever rainbow—the very first magical breaking point of light,” explained Sarkis during the press meeting that took place at Salon İKSV in Istanbul. “Instead of binding ourselves to specific instances within the histories of politics, religion, philosophy and arts, we will embrace contemporaneity at the intersection of both the present and the distant past in our continued commitment to defy stagnation.”  

A prominent figure of the global art scene whose career spans more than five decades, Sarkis has been known for his oeuvre that embraces culturally and historically diverse genealogies of art and their relationship to memory and space.

The exhibition at the Sale d’Armi, Arsenale titled Respiro will present an installation of mirrors, stained-glass panes and site-specific neon works. Through the arrangements of objects, images, thoughts, and codes released from personal and collective memories, Sarkis will use the pavilion site as a theatrical stage for a select cast of his works as to investigate the ideas of infinite dialogue and transformation that are at the core of his work. Respiro will be complemented by a composition by Jacopo Baboni-Schilingi, based on the artist’s drawing of the rainbow’s seven colors as a system of partitions.

“This undertaking opens up a space in which the potential of art will be reanimated,” explained Defne Ayas, curator of the Pavilion. “Few artists have combined artistic ingenuity with subtle critique of history as deftly as Sarkis. Against the current landscape of deep uncertainties, with and through Sarkis’s intense and perfectionist oeuvre, and especially with his magnum opus in the making, you will be able to enter a proposition that will reveal his profound concern for humanity. Thanks to his rich arsenal of visual, architectural, and musical apparatuses, we will all be able to tune into hidden signals and frames encrypted in images and visions; dig deeper into our contemporary lived experience; perhaps hurt but also hopefully heal. The focus is the transformative power of art, as well as the timelessness and the timeliness of his oeuvre.”

Two simultaneous installations by Sarkis will be opening on 7 May, one in Istanbul and one in Geneva, as to create a continuous dialogue with wider audiences.

A new publication will accompany Sarkis’s Respiro. Conceived as a cross-referencing of Sarkis’s installation through key essays and image readings, the book will include contributions by Ruben Arevshatyan, Uwe Fleckner, David Kazanjian, Wendy Meryem Kural Shaw, W. J. T. Mitchell, Aaron Schuster, and Jalal Toufic, amongst others. The volume, edited by Defne Ayas, published by İKSV and designed by A Practice for Every Day Life, London will be available at the launch of the Pavilion of Turkey at the biennale and will be sold at selected bookstores.

The exhibition in the Pavilion of Turkey at la Biennale di Venezia is sponsored by Fiat, and realised under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, with the production support of Mehveş-Dalınç Arıburnu and SAHA Association. The Pavilion of Turkey, a dedicated long-term venue at the Arsenale, is an initiative of İKSV, also supported by the generous contribution of 21 sponsors.

For further information: and 
For press images:

For international media inquiries, please contact:
Elif Obdan, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts: elif.obdan [​at​] / media [​at​]
Diana Babei, Pickles PR: diana [​at​]

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Türkiye Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
February 12, 2015

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