press release

Words Are Very Unnecessary

Gökçen Dilek Acay, Vito Acconci, Nevin Aladağ, Meriç Algün, Francis Alÿs, Yto Barrada, Mehtap Baydu, Joseph Beuys, Geta Brătescu, George Brecht, Elina Brotherus, Stanley Brouwn, Sophie Calle, Anetta Mona Chişa, Lucia Tkáčová, Henning Christiansen, Elmas Deniz, Elisabetta Di Maggio, Osman Dinç, Didem Erk, Ceal Floyer, Leylâ Gediz, Ludwig Gosewitz, Rebecca Horn, Vlatka Horvat, Allan Kaprow, Ali Kazma, Milan Knížák, Daniel Knorr, Július Koller, Igor Kopystiansky, Alicja Kwade, Lene Adler Petersen, Sigmar Polke, Karin Sander, Sarkis, Roman Signer, Amikam Toren, Ken Unsworth, Franz Erhard Walther, Anne Wenzel, Akram Zaatari

Selen Ansen

Revolving around the themes of gesture, remains and trace, this exhibition brings together works from the Arter Collection, featuring artists from Turkey and other countries worldwide. Words Are Very Unnecessary takes its cue from a conversation about “what a museum is”, which took place between artists Allan Kaprow and Robert Smithson in 1967. In this context, the exhibition inquires, beyond an object-centred perspective, into the tangible and intangible things that an art institution hosts and preserves. It also undertakes a shift of focus by approaching the object of art through the movements and actions of which it is the product, the keeper, the catalyst, the trace and/or the remainder. Bearing witness to past gestures or calling for future ones, the works on display have a strong relationship with body, language, time and space. They make manifest, by way of a variety of media, the traces of time's passing, the remains of what is gone and done, and sensory experiences. Words Are Very Unnecessary is concerned with the ordinary and everyday sides of life. It is also concerned with the ephemeral emotions, relations and processes that cannot fit in a museum storage or be installed in an exhibition hall. As such, it proposes to look anew at things overlooked and familiar situations, in order to reveal their creative potentials. The works on display deliberately depart from grand, spectacular or heroic gestures that are performed as means for great ends. They rather revive or document a plethora of mundane actions, accomplished with or without the hand – including minor, futile, vital or elementary ones. Deprived of a function or an aim other than the artistic, performed for their own sake, these ordinary gestures question notions of intention, potentiality and authorship in contemporary artistic production.

Committed to the everyday through the depiction of familiar forms, the enactment of basic actions, and the use of found and ready-made objects or of common materials, the artists participating in the exhibition celebrate gesture and experience without ignoring the object. Their practice, however, challenges the objecthood of the artwork, sometimes to the point of blurring the distinction between an artwork, a common object, and a “thing”. Proceeding with loose associations, the exhibition intends to pursue this reflection by inquiring established hierarchies and by creating a chain of things and actions. The title of the exhibition comes straight from the lyrics of Depeche Mode's hit song of the ‘90s, Enjoy the Silence. In this context, Words Are Very Unnecessary is not a one-way statement which would declare the failure of language. It rather stands as an open-ended stance that takes on a different meaning with each work and welcomes layers of interpretation. Bridging art and life, Words Are Very Unnecessary proposes to experience the ways in which gesture and language become a field of production when considered beyond the prism of efficiency, and performed as more than a means of communication. It invites the audience to set foot into a territory where daily actions and creative practices, the poetic and the mundane, the familiar and the eerie, the repetitive and the unique cross paths.