Sarkis to represent Turkey at the Venice Biennale 2015

The Turkish Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 will present Sarkis.

Turkey has announced Sarkis as the representing artist for its new pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, where the artist will present a new installation. A variety of other countries have also recently announced their representing artists for the influential biennial art event.

Sarkis in 2006. Photo by Nwardez. © Wikimedia Commons.

Sarkis in 2006. Photo by Nwardez. © Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, on 5 August 2014, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) announced Turkish-Armenian artist Sarkis as the country’s representing artist at the 2015 Venice Biennale (9 May to 22 November 2015).

Sarkis will present a new installation in Turkey’s new long-term pavilion at the Arsenale, secured in March 2014 with an allotment of twenty years (2014-2034) and inaugurated with the Architecture Biennale in 2014.

The Turkish Pavilion 

The Pavilion of Turkey for next year’s biennale is organised and coordinated by IKSV, sponsored by Fiat and realised under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey. The Advisory Board includes artist Ali Kazma, among other academics, curators and critics. Kazma represented Turkey at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 with his multi-channel video work Resistance that examined the way we try to manipulate and control our bodies.

The pavilion will be curated by Defne Ayas, Director and Curator at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Ayas is also the founding co-director of Arthub Asia in Shanghai since 2007 and founding co-curator of the Blind Dates Project – an artistic platform dedicated to tackling what remains of the people, places, and cultures that were once part of the Ottoman Empire. Since 2005, she has also been the curator of the performance art festival Performa in New York.

Sarkis, 'Landscape Forever', 2008. Installation view at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Photo by Mariken Bakkers from

Sarkis, ‘Landscape Forever’, 2008, installation view at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Photo by Mariken Bakkers from

Who is Sarkis?

Paris-based Sarkis Zabunyan (b. 1938, Istanbul), better known as Sarkis, is an influential conceptual artist whose multidisciplinary practice has been pushing the boundaries of installation art since the 1960s. A graduate of the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Sarkis won the painting prize at the Biennale de Paris in 1964. He was invited to participate in influential curator Harald Szeemann’s 1969 exhibition “When Attitudes Become Form” at Kunsthalle Bern, re-presented as an updated version by Italian curator Germano Celant, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and German artist Thomas Demand, at the Fondazione Prada in Venice in 2013.

In 2011, the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMCO) in Geneva presented “Hôtel Sarkis”, a retrospective exhibition of Sarkis’ oeuvre from 1971 to 2011. This year, the Huis Marseille Museum voor Fotografie in Amsterdam has dedicated an entire gallery to the artist’s “Ring Portraits” series of photographs of figurines from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings saga. A solo exhibition of his oeuvre is also on show at the Musée du Château des Ducs de Wurtemberg in France through January 2015.

Other artists at Venice Biennale 2015

In March 2014, the Philippines also announced their participation at the Venice Biennale in 2015 after a 50 year hiatus with a new national pavilion. Recently, other countries worldwide have announced their representing artists for the 56th edition of the Biennale, including Tsang Kin-Wah for Hong Kong, Charles Lim for Singapore, Chiharu Shiota for Japan, Danh Vo for Denmark and Fiona Hall for Australia. The United Arab Emirates has announced President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation Sheika Hoor Al Qasimi as the curator for their pavilion.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia


Related Topics: Turkish artists, installation art, biennales, biennials, events in Venice

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