“MYTHS & DREAMS” IN THE ELGİZ COLLECTION
Event: “Remembering The Future”
Speaker: Nancy Atakan
Moderator: Billur Tansel
Date: 26 October 2022, Wednesday
Time: 6 pm
Venue: Elgiz Museum
The events organized in the framework of the “Myths & Dreams” in the Elgiz Collection that were initiated at the Arkas Art Center in Izmir continue in Istanbul at the Elgiz Museum.
The talk with the artist Nancy Atakan, “Remembering The Future” will be moderated by Billur Tansel, the curator of the exhibition.
The theme of the talk “Remembering The Future” is inspired by one of Nancy Atakan’s works that takes part in the exhibition and is one of the very essential suggestions/ messages the curator wants to leave the audience with. The talk will focus on the following themes among many others by using the artworks as reference; destroyed memories, the state of in-betweenness, cross-cultural similarities, collaboration, sharing, metamorphosis, the importance of nature, change, the ecological crisis and planetary emergency.
The aim of this event is to ponder upon the framework of the exhibition together with the audience.
ABOUT NANCY ATAKAN
Nancy Atakan is an active figure in the Istanbul arts scene as an artist, teacher, art historian,and art critic. Often autobiographical, she concentrates on topics such as the relationship between image and word, the meaning of belonging, gender politics, memory, and globalization as they relate to her personally. All of her work involves research, collaboration and dialogue as it incorporates observations of current events and references to history and culture. Permeated with touches of lightness, historical narratives and weighty issues within her work are brought closer to everyday life. As a part of her art practice, she co-founded the Istanbul based art initiative/project space, 5533. Her intense teaching career of creative arts and 20th century art history at English High School for Girls, Robert College, and Boğazici University spanned the years from 1975 until 2002. After she received her PhD at Mimar Sinan University in 1995, Yapi Kredi Kültür Sanat Yayıncılık published her book, Arayışlar, (Searching) in 1998 and in2008 Karakalem Kitabevi published, Sanatta Alternatif Arayışlar, (Alternative Art Approaches) both frequently used as textbooks in art universities throughout Turkey. In 2016 Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg published a monograph of Atakan’s work entitled, Passing On, edited by Nat Muller. Since 2009, her work has been represented by Pi Artworks. Nancy Atakan lives and works in Istanbul.
ABOUT BİLLUR TANSEL
Billur Tansel is an instructor, independent curator and writer that specialises in Contemporary Art. After finishing the French High School Pierre Loti in Istanbul, she graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, USA and obtained two majors in economics and philosophy. She then received a joint MBA degree from the Sorbonne and Dauphine Universities. In 2006, Tansel started her career as an academician at the Department of Visual Communication Design in the Faculty of Communication at the Yeditepe University. This is where she also completed her second master’s degree in visual communication design with the thesis entitled “Study And Analysis of the Traditional Aesthetics in Art As Opposed to the New Aesthetics in Digital Art.” She has taught Art Philosophy in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Yeditepe University between the years 2006 and 2020. Besides being an academician, Tansel has been actively enrolled in the art scene as the director of reputable art galleries in Istanbul, such as Casa Dell’Arte and 44A, she also worked as the Art Director of the Casa Dell’Arte Art Hotel in Bodrum. She has curated several exhibitions in Turkey. Her articles have been published in art magazines and books. Between 2011-2014, Tansel has worked as the Director and Curator of Proje4L/ Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art in Istanbul. She is the founder and Director of Open Dialogue Istanbul.
ABOUT ELGİZ MUSEUM
The Elgiz Museum Istanbul was founded by collectors Sevda and Can Elgiz as the first contemporary art museum in Turkey in 2001. As, at that time, no other public contemporary art museums and/or foundations existed; this privately-owned, internationally recognized, non-profit institution, that was expanded on a 2000 m2 space, took on the mission to support the development of contemporary art. Since its foundation, the space functioned as an experimental art platform for young, up-and-coming artists and curators. It has carried out important projects that brought together many young artists and curators with the principle of patronnage in art and made Turkish contemporary art visible in the international platform. The Elgiz Museum Istanbul houses the family’s collection in the permanent collection section and hosts dynamic, avant-garde, temporary exhibitions in the other section, and holds educational programs. Elgiz Museum Istanbul, has transformed its two thousand square meter terrace into an open-air sculpture exhibition area in 2010, and has been calling the young sculptors with a different theme every year. In 2013 the Elgiz Museum Istanbul was given the ARCO “A” Award for International Collection and in 2014 received the Turkey’s Contemporary Arts Foundation Honour Award. It is also a founding member of the Global Private Museum’s Network (GPMN) and a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).
“Contemporary art presents the hopeful prospect of a society at peace with its cultural heritage.” - Can Elgiz
Remembering the Future
In addition to the two works made during the 2020 three and a half month lockdown by Nancy Atakan included in the Myths and Dreams exhibition at Elgiz Muzeum, that present reflections about her feelings, fears and hopes experienced in this difficult period, Atakan will also share images of other work on similar topics that she made over the same time span. Perhaps this body of work analyzes contemporary myths, but it most certainly touches upon her dreams for a more fluid female aproach to life.
While logically one cannot Remember the Future during this quiet and peaceful period at home she pondered past positive and negative experiences and began to hear whispers of possibilies and suggestions about solutions for future paths. In her film Oleander we can see her embroidering her poetic text onto a delicate worn floral designed fabric. As she reflects on ‘now’, a period when we are unsure about how to move forword, she becomes friends with the plants on her terrace. The Oleander seemingly begins to give her insights into the important symbiotic relationship between humans and vegetal beings.
Perhaps inspiration to listen to and care for her plants came partially from simultaneously reading Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder’s 2016 book, “Through Vegetal Being: Two Philosophical Perspectives” , in which they propose that:
“Our task is to develop a culture through which we come to view the plants, ourselves, and the air between us as the participants in the ensemble of life...The cultivation of sharing instead of division, is perhaps the sole practical and theoretical trend that can still make a positive difference in the disastrous environmental situation we find ourselves in.”