Curated by Elena Sorokina

"Ranging from almost perfect transparency to complete opacity, crystals have been used in all areas of human activity, from science to magic, from technology to healing. Scientists typically describe crystals as “growing”, even though in their eyes they are not alive. Many living organisms, such as mollusks, are able to produce crystals. In ancestral cultures, crystals and minerals are regarded as sentient. Indeed, they constitute a perfect example of the fluid and porous boundaries between the animate and inanimate, organic and inorganic. Taking crystals and their vibrant matter as a point of departure, the exhibition Crystal Clear went beyond their emblematic use. Rather it aimed to develop a contained ecosystem with diverse entanglements of the production, display, and recycling of the artistic, curatorial, and institutional work, material and immaterial. In collaboration with all the participating artists, Crystal Clear devised methods and tools for sustainable curating, going beyond just thinking about ecology or sustainability, but rather inventing and enacting principles allowing the reduction of the carbon footprint of exhibition making: radical limits on the shipping of objects, local collaborative production of exhibited work, creative recycling strategies, and extremely reduced travel for all the participants. Conceived long before the advent of Covid-19 pandemic, the project was already developing models of programmatic changes for exhibition production. Interested in the imperfect contaminated transparencies of crystals and opacities of the soil, the project’s pre-Covid stage critically intersected with ideas from two books, “Down to Earth” by Bruno Latour and “The Transparency Society” by Byung-Chul Han. Today anyone can obtain information about anything. Everything—and everyone—has become transparent, unveiled and exposed. Yet transparency has its dark side and can turn into opacity, without us even noticing it. But the pandemic shifted and bent many of our initial questions, which moved en masse into public discussions, getting new perspectives and points of view. Working through Covid conditions, Crystal Clear offered the artists the possibility of engaging with these and other current mutations of our environment, seen through the crystalline optics. Curated by Elena Sorokina, the exhibition featured the artists Sammy Baloji, Minia Biabiany, Katinka Bock, Bianca Bondi, Gaelle Choisne, Sinem Dişli, Kıymet Daştan, Elmas Deniz, Gluklya (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya), Deniz Gül, Ilana Halperin in collaboration with Knitstanbul, Gülsün Karamustafa, Yazan Khalili, Paul Maheke, Şener Özmen, İz Öztat, Hale Tenger, Güneş Terkol, Berkay Tuncay and Adrien Vescovi."

Text From Pera Museum/Exhibitions/Crystal Clear


'I Am Afraid To (Not) Forget derives from my experimentation with melting discs —archival devices that now are becoming obsolete— creating pseudo-geological, crystalline disfigurements, highlighting the material and metaphorical ties between thick geological layers and today’s speeded-up technologies. These discs include CDs, DVDs, Archival Gold CDs-DVD, M-Discs, and others. Taking off from the evocative patterns I traced along with the Beirut National Museum and the Beirut Mineral Museum, ancient sites, and disappearing pirated video stores in Beirut, this process traces the way material conditions, human societies, and media technologies shape how memory is recorded, preserved, replaced or erased. The valuable stone-like forms used in melting the discs were obtained from the waste brought in from ancient ruins to fill Beirut’s coastline. Through those gestures of deformation and reconstruction, what is created is a new object loaded with forgotten memories, which I call Oblivion Stone. Produced in Istanbul, the new pieces (Oblivion Stones) were realized by using the forms of the stones I have collected from selected regions in Turkey so as to trace the erased and misrepresented collective memories within geological forms. In addition, as the continuation of the Memory Burn series, which documents the heat-induced deformation of the material of discs, whose smooth surface must be preserved and should be kept away from heat as long as memory is stored on them, video work is presented, featuring different kinds of optical disks, including archival grade disks composed of rare metals such as gold and silver. The project uses the stone form as a guide in shaping the works and draws on the metaphor of a shell to speak about the form itself. It also questions the meanings associated with creating a “precious” stone form and plays with the idea of values attached to commercial or cultural artifacts. What is left behind from destruction? In Jacques Derrida’s terms, how is the post represented by a trace in its absent presence? In other words, can a material residue become proof of its erasure as well as a remnant of forgetting? If the lack of recollection of the forgotten affirms its absence, what kind of anesthetic and poetic language does a form made out of remnants create? This project constitutes part of my ongoing investigation into memory, legacy, and customs in the contemporary world, even as it probes the poetic horizons of materials and time.'

The project is supported by SAHA as part of the sustainability Fund. / Bu Proje Sürdürülebilirlik Fonu Kapsamında SAHA tarafından desteklenmiştir.

From Exhibition