Another art exhibition attacked in Istanbul

Another art exhibition attacked in Istanbul

Following the attack on an exhibition in Tophane not long ago, this time an exhibition not yet open, in Beþiktaþ was attacked by CHP (Republican People's Party) members. The work ‘Worship Shadow’ was torn to pieces as a result of the attack.

The 'Free Zone Istanbul' exhibition, which is planned for Üsküdar, Beþiktaþ and Kadýköy squares in the frame of ‘ÝDANS International Modern Dance and Performance Festival’ organized for the fourth time by Bimeras Culture Foundation, was attacked during placement in Beþiktaþ Square.

CHP Youth Branches’ member group overthrew and parted an object in the exhibition they regarded with disfavor. The attacked work referred to the ‘worship shadow’ sign in airfields and carries the picture of Mustafa Kemal by the symbols of three old religions.  

The exhibition, which was designed for Ýstanbul by internationally famed designers Rosan Bosch and Rune Fjord, was aiming to bring a humorous perspective to some addictions and rules in city squares by changing accustomed signs. So, while examining the borders between private and public spheres, the exhibition was aiming to create new regions where we can discuss between each other in common areas we share.  

Bringing into question whether Mustafa Kemal is perceived as a religion by some fractions or not, the attacked work in Beþiktaþ Square drew the attention of the group. The discussion stress increased with the involvement of a group getting off a bus of Beþiktaþ Municipality. In the meantime, the contentious work was overthrown and torn.

The statement made by Bimeras Culture Foundation condemned the attack on freedom of expression, adding; “It is quite thought-provoking that the attack was carried out in Beþiktaþ, an enlightened locality of Ýstanbul.”  Artist Rosa Bosch, the designer of the exhibition and International Court of Justice as well, said the followings about the attack; “Each object in the exhibition has a question, which can be answered in different ways. It is doable to and come up against the statements and discuss about them but the impossibility of a discussion is a sign of some dogmas. It saddened me to experience such a case while working on a project that aims to create share and discussion fields.”

Despite the absence of piece, the exhibition will be held open to public in Kadýköy and Üsküdar Squares too.

A few weeks ago in an organized attack on art galleries in the Tophane neighbourhood of Istanbul, guests attending exhibition openings were physically assaulted in a lynch attempt by a gang of 40-50 people. The audience subjected to this atmosphere of total terror featured artists, academicians, students, writers, local and international journalists and cultural attaches from consulates. The attackers used knives, batons, broken bottles and pepper spray. The injured include Polish, Dutch, German and English guests.

For a time now a certain group has been in action to disrupt the openings, exhibitions and events of art galleries in Tophane and to create an atmosphere of intimidation. Galleries, artists and guests have been harassed and threatened numerous times. These actions, said the organizers, are carried out by a group organized via certain web sites and around certain localities in the neighbourhood.

These organized attacks cannot be attributed to the Tophane community.

This organized attack in the centre of Istanbul, a cultural capital, is in no manner acceptable. This attack spells a clear and genuine warning to all art institutions. A serious investigation into the organizers and perpetrators of this attack is necessary, said the organizers of the event.

Participants in protests against the IMF had previously been attacked in a similar manner in what can only be described as a lynching attempt. However, this attack remained uninvestigated, providing an instance of encouragement for the groups carrying out such violent attacks.

With the collaboration of Berna Ozgencil