Pera Museum’s Cold Front from the Balkans exhibition curated by Ali Akay and Alenka Gregorič brings together contemporary artists from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.
The exhibition focuses on artists and artist groups of different generations from the region known as the “Balkans” and is shaped by a natural phenomenon and a geographical region independent of the political associations that immediately spring to mind: the Wind and the Balkan Mountains. This theme also refers to the phrase “cold weather front from the Balkans” which in Turkish indicates the coming of winter.
This phrase provides a point of departure for the exhibition, which then sets out to bring together the works of artists who create under the conditions imposed by the artistic, social, political, and cultural milieu surrounding them. The aim is to create a dialogue among striking works created using a variety of media and to offer an alternative point of view.
The exhibition consists of relationships and lines connecting artists and works, generations and subjects. Just as we put the subjectivity of the Balkan winds and geography before the subjectivity of the people while talking about “cold weather from the Balkans,” and remind each other of Istanbul’s disappearing Balkan character, so too are the works in the exhibition set up according to the relationships and lines connecting them.
These lines are composed of signs regarding ideology, the state, the art market, revolutions, personal revolutions, geographical regions, alternative geographical regions, art systems, histories against alternative systems, state systems against the art system, bodies, and values; these signs stand as signifiers.
Each signifier approaches the others as figures of style, not metaphorically but metonymically. Each concept continues its relationship with another while emerging from an arbitrary location as a rhizome, and engages in multiple relationships with it. Each symbol/sign functions not by itself but in tandem with other symbols/signs: Cause/effect; work/artist.Cause/effect; work/artist, ideology and counter-ideology. These must be considered not as dichotomies but rather in terms of the variations in which they engage together.
“Cold Front From the Balkans” exhibition can be visited until 7 May at Pera Museum!