May 17, 2011 - Pavilion of Turkey at the Venice Biennale - The Pavilion of Turkey at the 54th Venice Biennale
May 17, 2011

The Pavilion of Turkey at the 54th Venice Biennale

Ayse Erkmen, “Bis August,” 2004.
12 buoys made of plastic, ropes made of nylon, 12 balls made of rubber.
Gessellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen, Germany, 2004

Ayşe Erkmen 
Plan B

Pavilion of Turkey
54th International Art Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia

Curator: Fulya Erdemci
Curatorial Collaborator: Danae Mossman

Commissioner: Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts
Project Coordinator: Deniz OvaArtiglierie Arsenale, Venice
Inauguration: 3 June 2011, 12 pm
4 June–27 November 2011
Professional Preview: 1–3 June 2011

Ayşe Erkmen will represent Turkey with a sculptural installation titled “Plan B” at the 54th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale from 4 June–27 November 2011. The Pavilion of Turkey is curated by Fulya Erdemci, with Danae Mossman as curatorial collaborator. The Pavilion will be located at Artiglierie, Arsenale, the main venue of the Biennale.

The Pavilion of Turkey, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), is sponsored by FIAT and is realised under the auspices of Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the contribution of The Promotion Fund of the Turkish Prime Ministry.

“Plan B” draws on the ineluctable and complex relationship Venice has with water. Erkmen’s project transforms a room inside the Arsenale into a complex water purification unit where machines perform as sculptures, enveloping the audience inside of the filtration process that eventually provides clean, drinkable water back to the canal.

Each component of the filtration unit has been separated out, disseminating the machinery throughout the room then reconnecting the elements with extended pipes. Erkmen choreographs the elegant industrial forms to draw attention to the process of transformation, at the end of which the purified water is returned to the canal: a futile, yet courageous gesture against the overwhelming scale of the canal and the ocean.

Formally, Erkmen’s practice often comments on minimalism’s relationship between industrial forms and the body. Here the installation generates a visceral experience for viewers who are embodied within the mechanism of transformation.

“Plan B” abstractly conveys systems and processes that we are part of daily: blood circulating through the body, Capital flowing through borders, the mechanisms of authority, the supply of natural resources while proffering a poetic reference to the potentiality of change. Simultaneously the work is a subtly humorous critique of the euphoria for unsustainable short-lived solutions and changes within the complex systems and structures that surround us.

Erkmen graduated from Mimar Sinan University Department of Sculpture in 1977. She participated in the DAAD International Artist Residency Programme (Berliner Künstlerprogramm) in Berlin in 1993. From 1998–99 Erkmen worked as the Arnold Bode Professor at Kassel Art Academy, and as lecturer at Frankfurt Staedelschule 2000–2007. Among numerous international exhibitions Erkmen has participated in are the 2nd and 4th Istanbul Biennials; Münster Sculpture Project; the Shanghai, Berlin, Gwangju, Sharjah, and SCAPE biennials, as well as the Folkestone and Echigo Tsumari Triennials. Ayse Erkmen lives in Istanbul and Berlin, and has been teaching at Münster Kunstakademie since 2010.

Industrial designer Konstantin Grcic has designed a tote bag specifically for the project.

A new publication will accompany Ayşe Erkmen‘s installation “Plan B”. The book will include commissioned essays by curator Fulya Erdemci, historian Edhem Eldem, and art historian and critic Gregory Volk, along with an interview between Danae Mossman and Ayşe Erkmen that is joined by Fulya Erdemci. Designed by Bülent Erkmen and co-published by İKSV and Yapı Kredi Publications, the publication will be available at the launch of the Biennale and will subsequently be sold in selected bookstores worldwide.

A group of collectors have also kindly contributed to the organisation of the event, under the title of “Friends of the Pavilion of Turkey”.

For further information:

For additional press information and inquires please contact:

Elif Obdan
Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts
T: +90 212 334 07 13
e-mail: /

Rima Al-Faour
Brunswick Arts
T: +44 207 936 7271
M: +44 792 168 4512

For visuals from the Venice Biennale:

Pavilion of Turkey at the Venice Biennale
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