Bringing together works by Murat Akagündüz, Sevinç Altan, Eda Aslan,Levent Aygül, Ege Berensel, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan and Ali Kazma, Petrified Dreams takes place at Galeri Nev İstanbul between September 9 – October 29, 2022. The exhibition is curated by Nilüfer Şaşmazer.
With reference to Walter Benjamin’s “angel of history”, Petrified Dreams looks at the landscapes created by various actions, productions and destructions carried out under the name of progress. Temporally, it begins with images from right before World War II and ends with contemporary ones. Spatially, apart from a few exceptions, it is framed by the eastern shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mesopotamia to the east, Russia to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Well, it also stops by space, too, in the meantime.
The rock [petrify, from Latin petra, ‘rock’ or ‘stone’] and the dream in the title of the exhibition have a few, different meanings. First and foremost, one must state that the dream here serves as a substitute for greedily driven progress, echoing Benjamin’s concept of the “dream world”; therefore, it also alludes to mass utopias, the nationalist dreams and various images of desire. Thus, the rock and the state of petrification point towards what remains from dreams that have turned into nightmares, to the mere rubble that is left behind all forms of violence. And of course, to the rock, as the founding element of reconstruction...
Rocks play another significant role in the narrative of ruins: They bear witness to all that has been experienced. Both as evidence and witness, the rock (and land, and terrain, and topography) as petrified memory, lead the one who pays attention to the small story within dominant narratives. And the ruin is not merely the memory of violence; in that it has survived (to the extent that it has survived) it appears to bear memory, and therefore, hope. Yet, even if Benjamin’s storm continues to propel the world, perhaps even faster than before, what we call the past is being constructed today.
Galeri Nev İstanbul can be visited from Tuesday to Saturday, between 11 am-6.30 pm.