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Positive Space


American Hospital Operation Room Art Gallery, ISTANBUL

01.12.2018 - 02.02.2019


AIDS broke out in the 1980’s, and soon became a deadly, global epidemic. It led to an increase in conservative voices and to the marginalization of the disease when the common ways of contamination were considered.

Since the end of the 80’s, activists and artists have collaborated in order to protest the Reagan administration, which kept quiet about the epidemic in North America, and mourn their friends who died of it. The contagious disease that was supposed to divide the masses brought them together. Today AIDS art has come to be used to express a whole artistic period and its practices that try to be democratic. AIDS individualized and politicized the art scene, which had been fraught with theories. The object of art was transformed into a body that was shared and distributed and got transformed into an ideological virus out of an art gallery.

Since Mürteza Elgin, the first sensational AIDS case in the Turkish media , HIV/AIDS has always been known for scandals, regardless of high rise of infection rate in the country, HIV remains as a taboo and a stigma in the public opinion. “Positive Space” interests in attributing a collective face to the virus and doesn’t care about protecting the ‘sterile’ other. The title is derived from a term used for the focal point of visual art compositions. It asks the spectator to get involved and is opposed to presenting a negative space to them. It mixes works of art, brings the background to the fore, and subjectifies everything visible. Just as Albert Camus said, “But what does it mean, the plague? It's life, that's all.” And so, “no one, no one on earth is free from it.”

“Positive Space” also opens discussions about themes, directly related to HIV/AIDS, such as visibility and stigma, victimhood and guilt, pleasure and disease as well as subjective bodies recording, separating, accepting and rejecting, infecting and spreading in opposition to ideological and medical bodies. Even though the exhibition affirms ‘positivity,’ it reserves the right to see AIDS as a metaphor. The unrepressed HIV does not destroy the cell, it attacks and emaciates it, just like masculine domination or bio-power practices do. “Positive Space” looks for new contamination technologies against these practices.

The exhibition, curated by Alper Turan, brings together the works of artists that use different media like video, oil painting, collage, sculpture, installation, and photography, and aims to decipher HIV/AIDS, which is an ‘epidemic of meanings.’

The exhibition may be visited between December 1, 2018 and February 2, 2019 in American Hospital Art Gallery “Operation Room.”

Participating Artists: Ardıl Yalınkılıç, Artık İşler, Can Küçük, Ceren Saner, Furkan Öztekin, Elmgreen&Dragset, Güneş Terkol, İz Öztat, Leyla Gediz, Nihat Karataşlı, Onur Karaoğlu, Özgür Erkök Moroder, Pınar Marul, SABO, Sadık Arı, Serdar Soydan, and Ünal Bostancı.

Graphic Design:
Umut Altıntaş
Exhibition Design: Doruk Çiftçi

oil on paper // 70x50 cm // 2018

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