Ayse Erkmen: Plan B. Venice Biennale 2011

Ayse Erkmen is representing Turkey at the 54th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia 2011. For the presentation in the Artiglierie, Arsenale, Ayse Erkmen conceived a highly esthetical water purification system. The Pavilion of Turkey was curated by Fulya Erdemci. In this interview, Ayse Erkmen talks about the basic idea behind the work and why the installation is called “Plan B”.

Ayse Erkmen: Plan B. Venice Biennale 2011. Venice / Italy, June 1, 2011. Interview by Sabine Trieloff.

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From the press release:

Ayşe Erkmen’s sculptural installation ‘Plan B’ draws on the ineluctable and complex relationship Venice has with water. Her project transforms a room inside the Arsenale into a complex water purification unit where machines perform as sculptures, encompassing the audience inside of the filtration process which eventually provides clean, drinkable water back to the canal.

Each component of the filtration unit has been separated out, humorously disseminating the machinery throughout the room then reconnecting the elements with extended pipes. Erkmen choreographs the elegant industrial forms to draw attention to the process of transformation, at the end of which, the purified water is returned to the canal: a futile, yet courageous gesture against the overwhelming scale of the canal and the ocean.

Formally, Erkmen’s practice often comments on minimalism’s relationship between the industrial form and the body. Here the installation generates a visceral experience for viewers who are embodied within the mechanism of transformation.

‘Plan B’ abstractly conveys systems and processes that we are part of daily: blood circulating through the body, Capital flowing through borders, the mechanisms of authority, the supply of natural resources. While proffering a poetic reference to the potentiality of change, the work is simultaneously a subtle, humorous critique of the euphoria for unsustainable short-lived solutions within the complex systems and structures that surround us.

‘Plan B’ refers to the back up plan when the hypothetical ‘Plan A’ fails. This expression becomes a common feature of conversation in the build up to the Venice Biennale with the myriad of planning and production issues it presents, and the competitive temperament that its scale and style provokes.

Photo set:
Ayse Erkmen: Plan B

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