The pavilion as a sculpture

Turkish artist Suat Öğüt speaks about Turkey and his striking Istanbul-pavilion

Turkish-born artist Suat Öğüt wants to do it differently than the other curators. He makes a sculpture out of his cardboard cube that has also a practical function. The Istanbul pavilion opens November 14, 20:00 hrs in the Amsterdam Biennale at Mediamatic.


Suat Ogut and Istanbul pavilion - Curator of the Istanbul pavilion in the Amsterdam Biennale 2009 at Mediamatic. The pavilion is open from 14 Nov - 3 Jan 2009/10. Raphael Rehbach

Met: suat ogut

'A pavilion has to be like a sculpture for me. The way the artworks are shown is as important as the works themselves,' says the 24-year-old Suat Öğüt while sitting in front of his not yet finished creation. Öğüt studied sculpture at the Marmara School of Fine Arts in Istanbul. It was difficult as a beginning artist after school, because there were no funds for artists and you had to use your own money if you wanted to start a project. Fortunately he was invited to "Nightcomers"-videoprogram in 10th Istanbul Biennial 2007 and later to a interdisciplinary project that was sponsored by the government.

'I was always working illegally, looking out for the police when I walked on the streets with a moving traffic light (for one of his projects). You needed to pay money for permission, which I didn't have. But since a few years I work with subsidy from the foundations. Seventy young artists get support from the government because they are in workshops related with 2010. 2000 was a very important year for the artists in Istanbul. Before 2000 there was not much contemporary art in the academies, but after that year people became more interested in contemporary art and nowadays there is even money for it.'

'The artscene in Istanbul is small and divided in two parts: the classical, traditional arts and the contemporary arts. Because a lot of the students who study contemporary arts have a classical training, the two forms mix. I make mosaic works, but also videos. In my pavilion I show three videos and one sound project. Mehmet Ögüt's video shows a fight between a civilian and a policeman, and they change their clothes constantly. The roles change as their costumes change. Another video is about consumerism. There are many shopping malls in Istanbul and they all present themselves as different from others, though in fact they are all the same. With this selection of works I want to bring to attention all the cultural and political problems in Istanbul.'

Opening of the Istanbul pavilion on Saturday 14 November, 20:00 hrs at Mediamatic Bank, Vijzelstraat 68, Amsterdam.