For the exhibition happening concurrently to the Istanbul Biennial 2013, which is in conformity with its theme „Mom, am I a Barbarian?“ Viron Erol Vert is showing a sculpture of oversized replicas of the typical Istanbul mobile counters in the garden of Zografyon Greek High School in Beyoglu, Istanbul. As a project co-organized with the Byzantinian Community Foundations Society, Zografyon High School, Galerist and Kultur Departmani, the public space intervention/installation will be open to the audience between the dates September 14th to October 20th. Istanbul, as a city in which the tradition of multicultural exchange of numerous peoples, convictions and religious orientations has flourished for centuries.The cultural and economic exchange with other nations prospered here long before globalization was even defined. The mobile counters influenced the face of the city already in early times of the Ottoman Empire till present time and are symbols of the everday culture of Istanbul. Even though, or maybe because the number has decreased as well as the diversity of offered wares in times of modernisation, they still represent a pure form of economy which is becoming less and less important today: the personal exchange of wares against money – face to face! This stands in stark contrast to hypermarkets, online-shops and present national and global economical issues as the mobile counters are a social place of gathering where people of all kinds of different nationalities, religious or social origin meet to share the moment of dining, choosing and communication. On one hand the counters imply a feeling of familiarity which is evoked by the identification of common items from daily routine, on the other hand the viewer feels small and insignifant in comparison to the enormous size of the sculpture, which also leads to the inability to see what is offered on the mobile counters from close proximity. The change of position not only compensates size, it also reveals that there is actually nothing for sale on the counters. This insight is supposed to encourage the viewer to seize initative to fill the counters again with their own ideas and new solutions. It gives the invitation to rethink values like democracy, community spirit, communication and fair trade.
Text / Nina Lörken