Istanbul Biennial


04 Oct - 09 Nov 1997

5th International İstanbul Biennial 1997
4 October - 9 November 1997
Curator: Rosa Martinez

"On Life, Beauty, Translations and Other Difficulties"

Under the title "On Life, Beauty, Translations and Other Difficulties" the 5th International Istanbul Biennial synthesised the desire to approach and explore some important points of discussion in contemporary aesthetic thought and creation: the borderlines that separate art and life; the search for new meanings of beauty, and the awareness that we need languages to communicate even if translations produce displacements of meaning.

Besides its appearance as a totally autonomous entity, and the fact that, as with any other language, it has its own laws, art also acts as a medium to relate human beings to different areas of reality, and may be considered as a translation, a vehicle for reinterpreting and creating new ways of perceiving and transforming the world. The pleasure of beauty, the strength and the intensity of an aesthetic experience in which emotions function as a form of knowledge is needed in those processes of communication in which the 'others' are required to complete the meaning of the art work.


An artwork may be seen as a terminal, a point of arrival and departure between life and language, a space where one can play with signs generated by other fields of knowledge and experience (science, technology, mass media, politics, physicality, sexual identity...etc.), a place where it is possible to value and to transform relations with the 'others' by articulating, to different degrees of intensity, the understanding of nature and the multiplicity of cultural differences, so we can move from the 'passive aesthetics of mirrors' to a changing, multi-faceted and active 'aesthetics of prisms', where the gaze is multidirectional and inclusive.


Without neglecting the need for content, ideology or pathos, art is trying to recover the vertigo and intensity associated with the idea of beauty. Beauty is not timeless and universal, beauty is a subjective experience linked to the rhetoric of appearance, to the linguistic qualities of the signifier and the pleasure that they produce in the beholder. Aesthetic values depend on historical and cultural variations of taste and today, from a holistic perspective, we can move from beauty to content and integrate mind and body, thought and emotion, rhetoric and philosophy, pleasure and knowledge to achieve a new conception of life.


Translation is implied in any form of creation. Creation is a displacement, a movement from one field (life, culture, experience) to another (visual or poetic languages...). Art today embodies a nomadic experience; it is becoming a form of energy related to displacement. The desire to explore the differential spaces, the places of the 'others' and the fluidity and difficulties of translation between different contexts are being reviewed as a means of reinterpreting our position in the contemporary world.


To travel between those different spheres (cultural, sexual, linguistic...) is a journey of adventure with various risks and difficulties. The process of exploring and overcoming these difficulties is intrinsic in issues related to translation, life and beauty.


Oscar Bony - Argentina
Martin Weber - Argentina
Eva Eszter Bodnar - Austria
Richard Hoeck - Austria
Symrin Gill - Australia
Patrick Van Caeckenbergh - Belgium
Johan Creten - Belgium
Michel François - Belgium
Ann Veronica Janssens - Belgium
Leonilson - Brasil
Rivane Neuenschwander - Brasil
Flavia Ribeiro - Brasil
Lani Maestro - Canada
Jana Sterbak - Canada
Laura Vickerson - Canada
Lotty Rosenfeld - Chile
Lin Tian Miao - China
Juan Fernando Herrán - Colombia
Ana Mendieta - Cuba
Marta Maria Perez - Cuba
Manuel Pina - Cuba
Olafur Eliasson - Denmark
Ann Lislegaard - Denmark
Eija-Liisa Ahtila - Finland
Maaria Wirkkala - Finland
Rebecca Bournigault - France
Chohreh Feyzdjou - France
Orlan - France
Carsten Höller - Germany
Sophia Kosmaoglou - Greece
Nikos Navridis - Greece
Chryssa Romanos - Greece
Antal Lakner - Hungary
Anna Lindal - Iceland
Dorothy Cross - Ireland
Irit Hemmo - Israel
Maurizio Cattelan - Italy
Grazia Toderi - Italy
Mariko Mori - Japan
Cai Guo Qiang - Japan
Soo-Ja Kim - Korea
Eglé Rakauskaite - Lithuania
Bedi Ibrahim - Macedonia
Yolanda Gutierrez - Mexico
Yael Davids - The Netherlands
Moshekwa Langa - The Netherlands
Ebru Özseçen - The Netherlands
Liza May Post - The Netherlands
Stahl Stenslie (Cortex) - Norway
Leszek Golec & Tatiana Czekalska - Poland
Helena Almeida - Portugal
Cristina Mateus - Portugal
Oleg Kulik - Russia
IRWIN - Slovenia
Ana Laura Alaez - Spain
Federico Guzman - Spain
Antoni Miralda - Spain
Eulalia Valldosera - Spain
Meta Isaeus Berlin - Sweden
Michael von Hausswolff - Sweden
Daniel Buetti - Switzerland
Kültür - Switzerland
Pipilotti Rist - Switzerland
Halil Altindere - Turkey
Kutlug Ataman - Turkey
Vahap Avsar - Turkey
Sükran Aziz - Turkey
Semiha Berksoy - Turkey
Türkan Erdem - Turkey
Sükran Moral - Turkey
Bülent Sangar - Turkey
Tracey Emin - United Kingdom
Mark Wallinger - United Kingdom
Sam Taylor-Wood - United Kingdom
Janine Antoni - USA
Louise Bourgeois - USA
Diller & Scofidio - USA
Jimmie Durham - USA
Joseph Grigely - USA
Elahe Massumi - USA
Matthew McCaslin - USA
Shirin Neshat - USA
Beverly Semmes - USA
Eve Sussman - USA
Felix Gonzalez-Torres - USA
Roberto Obregon - Venezuela

Tags: Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Ana Laura Aláez, Helena Almeida, Halil Altindere, Janine Antoni, Kutlug Ataman, Vahap Avşar, Semİha Berksoy, Oscar Bony, Louise Bourgeois, Rebecca Bournigault, Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, Maurizio Cattelan, Chryssa, Johan Creten, Dorothy Cross, Yael Davids, Jimmie Durham, Olafur Eliasson, Tracey Emin, Michel François, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Joseph Grigely, Cai Guo-Qiang, Federico Guzmán, Juan Fernando Herrán, Richard Hoeck, Carsten Höller, IRWIN, Ann Veronica Janssens, Oleg Kulik, Moshekwa Langa, Leonilson, Ann Lislegaard, Matthew McCaslin, Ana Mendieta, Lv Miao, Antoni Miralda, Mariko Mori, Nikos Navridis, Shirin Neshat, Rivane Neuenschwander, Orlan, Liza May Post, Wu Qiang, Pipilotti Rist, Lotty Rosenfeld, Beverly Semmes, Jana Sterbak, Eve Sussman, Al Taylor, Sam Taylor-Wood, Grazia Toderi, Eulália Valldosera, Mark Wallinger