Part 2: The New Arter and Its Inaugural Exhibitions
By HG Masters
The vertical proportions of Arter’s new Istanbul building means lots of cubic space in the interior. One unique feature is a two-story wall that runs from the central lobby to the exhibition spaces below. How, or if, Arter’s curators will use that space consistently is hard to imagine, but they employed it like a blank canvas for Barış Doğrusöz’s installation Interstices, a dizzying array of combinations (2018). The piece consists of 47 sculptures based on architectural embrasures (openings for weapons to be fired from) taken from concrete guard posts, or pillboxes, that are ubiquitous in the highly militarized city. By transforming them into abstracted shapes, and mounting them on the wall, they become their opposites: transparent, diagrammatic, civilian, and devoid of architectural and historical context. In their serial presentation, they recall minimalist sculptures despite being a catalogue of crude, and cruel, forms. Perhaps coincidentally, the first work shown in the double-height street-level space at Arter’s previous home on Istiklal Caddesi was Michael Sailstorfer’s life-size inflatable T-72 (2007) tank, a similarly one-to-one scale rendering, and inversion, of military technology. In Doğrusöz’s case, Interstices is a reminder of the region’s fiercely contested borders and the many unseen soldiers watching the world from within these boxes.