Turn almost anywhere in the Turkish art world – whether biennials, group exhibitions at major art institutions or small collaborative projects – and you’ll find Cevdet Erek and his stirring experimentations with sound, space and rhythm. So it was no surprise when the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) announced last week that it will present a project by Erek at the Pavilion of Turkey at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The Pavilion of Turkey will be located in the Arsenale building at Sale d’Armi, the long-term venue secured by İKSV until 2034.
The project team that Erek will collaborate with has not yet been disclosed, but you can be sure that the work will incorporate Erek’s signatures: rhythm and site specificity. With a background in architecture and music – he has been handling drums and electronics for the rock band Nekropsi since high school – Erek magically melds music and art. His work for the 14th Istanbul Biennial, ‘A Room of Rhythms – Otopark’, turned an empty parking garage in Galatasaray, slated for demolition, into an echo chamber, with blips and beeps mapping the acoustic architecture of the abandoned space. Since the destruction of the building has been postponed, Erek has been hosting collaborations with musicians such as the clarinettist Oğuz Büyükberber and the guitarist Tolgahan Çoğulu. In one performance, Gökhan Deneç attempted to suspend sound in the space, with Erek then trying to interrupt the silence and fill the emptiness with a davul.
You can currently see Erek’s work at Don’t Be Late Home at Istanbul Modern, and come June his work will be displayed at the Jameel Prize 4 exhibition at the Pera Museum. Organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in partnership with Art Jameel, this show features the work of 11 artists and designers shortlisted for the fourth Jameel Prize. If you’re not in Istanbul, you can always listen to his haunting soundtrack for Emin Alper’s film Albuka (Frenzy), screened last year at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.