Becoming A Place 

 21 September-24 November 2001

Artists: Hüseyin Behri Alptekin, Can Altay, Halil Altındere, Tina Carlsson, Esra Ersen, Erik Göngrich, Hakan Gürsoytrak,Gülsün Karamustafa, Aydan Murtezaoğlu, Bülent Şangar, Oda Projesi

Curator: Vasıf Kortun

In the first Proje4L exhibition, Vasıf Kortun, the museum’s Director and Curator, used the distinct economic, cultural and sociological roles of Levent and Gültepe, where the space was situated, as the framework to discuss a series of dichotomous phenomena, such as migration and cultural change, and the private and public realms. The title Becoming A Place referenced the fact that an institutional roof was being provided for contemporary art, that there was now a home for artists’ work that did not suit the commercial market, and that contemporary art was finding support and a place to strike roots in an institutional framework. In his preface to the exhibition catalogue, Vasıf Kortun said the following: ‘The sinews of the exhibition are the forms of change in the material arrangement of the home and the street, internal and external migration, the problem of perpetuating a capitalism that is not so much illegitimate as illegal, and thus of perpetuating not only the globalisation of other geographies, but also other traditions and the way in which the spontaneous must adapt to the establishment; and the forms also of constructing the visual and, finally, of speaking up for the public space’.

The exhibition discussed the redefinition in the local culture of the distinction between private and public realms conceptualised by Jurgen Habermas, while calling attention, via the axes of tradition and production, to the ways in which internal and external spaces are ordered. It featured works by individual artists in such media as video, photography and installation, while the Oda Projesi, consisting of Özge Açıkkol, Seçil Yersel and Güneş Savaş, experimented with creating a bond between the museum and the denizens of Gültepe, using the rooms of a neighbourhood house as their exhibition space.

The publication prepared for the show went beyond the classic catalogue format to become an enlightening book that included articles and dialogues by Vasıf Kortun, Didem Danış, Erden Kosova, Can Altay and Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin.

In the November 2001 issue of Milliyet Sanat, Ayşegül Sönmez reported on the opening of Proje4L Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum, and the exhibition itself as follows:

‘Contemporary art is “moving in” to the Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art. Facing in one direction the Avenue of Banks and in the other the Gültepe neighbourhood of squatter houses, this museum, endowed with videos and projects, thus opens its arms to artists who produce contemporary art and whose work is offered not so much to the eye as to the mind. It is trying to “move them in” to an institution, one that is named the Contemporary Art Museum and is overdue in being founded’.

Becoming a Place


Halil Altındere

Hüseyin Alptekin

Hüseyin Alptekin