Opening Reception: 6-8pm, Friday, September 14, 2012, Istanbul September 14 - October 20, 2012
Open - Noon - 7:00 pm Tue - Sat Hacı Mimi Külhani Sok. No. 1/1 Tophane, Istanbul 34425 Up the street from Depo
Openings to the water I stopped searched for cracks and the wanting parts I fixed - A boat sold by the daughter of its builder, a fisherman, to a shipwright who left it there
Protocinema presents a new sculpture by Brian O'Connell. Openings to the water..., 2012, is a cement seafaring vessel, a full 7 meters in length. The form's internal surface reveals the intricately detailed impression of another boat's exterior. O'Connell's mould was in fact an abandoned 1960s fishing boat acquired near Istanbul's Yenikapi district, also the location of one of Europe's largest excavation sites since the 2004 discovery of the buried remnants of a Byzantine port. From that form he constructed this artwork, following the instructions for concrete boat-building popularized in 1960s counterculture. This work, created in Istanbul, opens up a narrative about questions of the singular moment in time - about here and there, sameness and difference, rebirth and return.
The boats built in and around Istanbul are at once functional, sculptural and corporal - they live, die, have spines, skins, are fat, skinny, ugly, beautiful and, of course, carry names. They are the result of a tradition of handcraft and maintenance passed down from one generation of boatbuilders to the next, reiterating similar forms in a growing pool of objects. Any object can be said to relay a story, but a boat that supports the lives and livelihoods of those whom it carries has a particular narrative capacity. The title of this artwork refers to two stories: one is the earliest written account of a boat's construction, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the other is the genealogy of this specific boat, of its past fifty years up into the present.
Brian O'Connell has been a frequent visitor to Istanbul over the past nine years. Born in Leuven, Belgium in 1972, Brian O'Connell lives and works in New York and Los Angeles, and is represented by Redling Fine Arts, Los Angeles. This autumn he will be a visiting faculty member at California Institute for the Arts (CalArts). After completing a BA degree at Columbia University in German Studies in 1995, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Germany. O'Connell received his MFA from CalArts in 2002. His work has been exhibited at institutions and galleries internationally, including de Appel, Amsterdam; K21, Düsseldorf; Abteiberg Museum, Mönchengladbach; Chelsea Space, London; and Andrew Kreps Gallery, Casey Kaplan Gallery and The New Museum, New York. In 2010 O'Connell participated in MoMA PS1's Greater New York exhibition. This is the artist's first exhibition in Turkey.
Special thanks to The Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Bodrum; Sabancı Üniversitesi, Istanbul; Selim Birsel; Buse Altıparmak; Yunus Emre; Özge Karagöz; Çağatay Tuna Özkan; Mert Üngör; Nil Şimşek; Efe Özmen; Laure Genillard; T.C. Başbakanlık Vakıflar Genel Müdürlüğü, Ümit Çoban, Cumhur Köseoğlu; Lora Sarıaslan ve Tuce Peksayar. Image courtesy Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles, and Protocinema.