Opening Reception: May 2, 18:00 - 20:00
Gürün Han - Aşir Efendi Cd. No: 69, Sirkeci, İstanbul
Floor 7 - near Sirkeci metro
Exhibitions runs: May 2 - June 1, 2019
Wednesday – Fridays 12:00 - 18:00, Saturdays 11:00 - 14:00

Protocinema presents PROJEKTÖR (Gürün Han), 2019, a newly commissioned installation by acclaimed British artist Mike Nelson, who has been a regular visitor to Istanbul over the past thirty years. PROJEKTÖR (Gürün Han) combines architectural intervention, sculpture and video across sixteen rooms of the seventh floor of the Gürün Han to reflect on the changing landscape of the city, both intimate and global. Nelson’s assemblages seek to collapse and confuse the linear trajectory of time, rendering the work simultaneously real and belonging to the realms of science fiction.

In choosing this building Nelson is consciously responding to an earlier incarnation of his own work, MAGAZIN (Büyük Valide Han), 2003, created for the Istanbul Biennial that year, which was set within a neighboring Ottoman building, the Büyük Valide Han. Now, sixteen years later, Nelson purposefully revisits a modern han, a caravanaserai, also in the vicinity of the Sultan Ahmet. Gürün Han was originally built in 1954, damaged by fire in the 1970s then rebuilt, and plays an important role, reflecting a particular era of Turkish history. This work feeds on Nelson’s personal interests, memories and his own art, including an early work, Agent Dickson at the Red Star Hotel, 1995. This han, at one time, was a center of the city’s textile wholesale industry, and grew alongside the rapidly modernizing Turkey at that time. Merchants came from central Anatolia, occupying these small shops to gain access to buyers across a pre-internet world. This growth continued up until the economic crisis of 1999 that left many of the shops empty. The han’s former glory has never quite returned and, due to socio-political reasons and changing technologies, the building seems to occupy a precipitous position.

Somewhat like his earlier work with darkroom technology, Nelson looks again to technology on the point of its own redundancy by using old projectors and monitors that affect the way we see the rendered image, the glitches visible to our eyes accustomed to high definition, coaxing the jinn from the machinery of our recent ancestors’ imagination.

PROJEKTÖR (Gürün Han) attempts to temporarily borrow the building, claiming it as a sculpture in its own right, by his manipulation of space and video with constructed and found objects. This last aspect is a collection of videos, both projected and shown on monitors, which were shot surreptitiously from the back seats of different taxis on multiple journeys across the Old City over the past years. These videos are direct and simple, showing only the passing landscape framed by the banal architecture of a car interior and the arm of a faceless driver. Nelson’s intention is to aggravate a sense of anonymity tangible in a city the scale of Istanbul, recalling the sense of vulnerability and unease one can feel in such a situation, with all its metaphorical potential. He also hopes to evoke Jean-Luc Goddard’s film Alphaville, 1965, homage to the genre of the science fiction B-movie in which Paris became a totalitarian city of the future. Through its stylistic filming, it culminates in a moment which alludes – within Nelson’s narrative – to the streets around the han at the Red Star Hotel. Here time collapses and collides as characters and environs real and imagined from history, both documented and projected, mix.

Mike Nelson, England, 1967, Selected solo exhibitions and projects include: Tate Britain Commission, London (2019); L’Atteso, Officine Grandi Riparazioni (OGR), Turin (2018); Cloak, Noveau Musee National de Monaco, Monaco (2016); Mike Nelson, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2013); I, IMPOSTOR, British Pavilion, 54th Biennale di Venezia (2011); A Psychic Vacuum, Creative Time, New York (2007); Nothing is True. Everything is Permitted. ICA, London (2001); Selected group shows include: 12th Gwangju Biennale (2018); La Vie Moderne, 13th Biennale de Lyon (2015); September 11, MoMA PS1, New York (2011); Reality Check, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark (2008); and Turner Prize, Tate Britain, London (2001).

Mike Nelson is represented by 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.


Mike Nelson Protocinema commission was generously supported by: Henry Moore Foundation, London; Alserkal Foundation, Dubai; and Galleria Franco Noero, Torino.

Protocinema commissions and presents site-aware art around the world. We produce context-specific projects of the highest artistic quality that are accessible to everyone through public programming. Through art, Protocinema evokes empathy towards an understanding of differences across regions. Founded by Mari Spirito in 2011, Protocinema is a non-profit 501(c)3, sites vary to respond both to global concerns and changing conditions on the ground.

For more information please contact Mari Spirito, mari@protocinema.org +1917 660 7332 +90541468 02 14, or Elif Temizkan, elif@protocinema.org +90532 171 76 11