Curator Nicolas Bourriaud on the theme of the Seventh Continent and what awaits the visitors at the exhibition:
“The eponymous image that presides over the 16th Istanbul Biennial – The Seventh Continent – arose from a zone situated on the borders between science and political activism. We all know it only too well: a vast island of industrial trash surrounded by fish and other sea creatures fretting among plastic bags and cotton buds. But the 16th Istanbul Biennial is intent on taking this idea of a continent literally, and considering this moving heap as a territory yet unknown, in which humans and non-humans coexist out of necessity. It constitutes the negative side of the ‘new world’ once celebrated by the European settlers: not a continent there to invade and occupy by force, but inversely, a nation that formed behind our backs, almost without our noticing, born of our ways of life and production. The reverse mirror-image of our societies, the seventh continent is the country we don’t want to inhabit, made up of everything we reject.
In order to apprehend the seventh continent, we need the antennas of artists, its translators and anthropologists.
I would like each artist to be apprehended by the viewers of this exhibition as if he/she were bringing news from a far away society, however familiar the presented elements might seem.
You, as the visitors, need only immerse yourself within the tribes composed by the artists of this exhibition, within the societies they invite you to explore, within the notions they reflect upon or forge, and you will be the anthropologists of this new world."
Jonathas De Andrade
Max Hooper Schneider
Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture Deniz Aktaş, Özlem Altın, Jonathas de Andrade, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Ozan Atalan, Radcliffe Bailey, Rebecca Belmore, Dora Budor, Johannes Büttner, En Man Chang, Mariechen Danz, Elmas Deniz, David Douard, Simon Fujiwara, Claudia Martínez Garay, Anna Bella Geiger, Pakui Hardware (Ugnius Gelguda & Neringa Černiauskaitė), Eloise Hawser, Marguerite Humeau, Suzanne Husky, Rashid Johnson, Feral Atlas Collective, Eva Kot'átková, Agnieszka Kurant, Tala Madani, Jared Madere, Turiya Magadlela, Ursula Mayer, Güneş Terkol & Güçlü Öztekin, Mika Rottenberg, Max Hooper Schneider, Ylva Snöfrid, Jennifer Tee, Suzanne Treister, Ambera Wellmann, Haegue Yang, Müge Yılmaz, Phillip Zach.
Pera Museum Anzo [José Iranzo Almonacid], Pia Arke, Charles Avery, Norman Daly, Ernst Haeckel, Evru/Zush, Sanam Khatibi, Melvin Moti, Glauco Rodrigues, Luigi Serafini, Paul Sietsema, Simon Starling, Piotr Uklański.
Büyükada – Island in the Sea of Marmara Monster Chetwynd, Glenn Ligon, Armin Linke, Ursula Mayer, Hale Tenger, Andrea Zittel.
The exhibition’s title, Grotto, alludes to three large-format pastels depicting caves. From Renaissance paintings of hermits through to Courbet’s The Source of the Loue and, more specifically, The Grotto of Manacor (c. 1901) by the Belgian painter William Degouve de Nuncques, depictions of underground caverns conjure up a wealth of historical and philosophical connotations. Xavier Hufkens, Brussels