Füsun Onur Retrospective Exhibition Ludwig Museum September 16, 2023 (4)

Füsun Onur Retrospective Exhibition | Ludwig Museum September 16, 2023

The retrospective of Füsun Onur organized in collaboration with Arter at the Ludwig Museum in the city of Cologne, Germany, will be open to visitors on September 16, 2023. The exhibition, curated by Barbara Engelbach (Ludwig Museum) and Emre Baykal (Arter), offers a comprehensive overview of the artist’s six-decade-long practice, bringing together approximately ninety works from various periods, including some large-scale spatial installations. For this exhibition, Onur is also creating a new work that will meet the audience for the first time.

Füsun Onur Retrospective Exhibition Ludwig Museum September 16, 2023 (5)
Füsun Onur

Füsun Onur’s retrospective exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, in collaboration with Arter, from September 16, 2023, to January 28, 2024, provides a comprehensive look at the artist’s uninterrupted practice spanning from the 1960s to the present day. Following her participation in numerous international exhibitions and a comprehensive exhibition titled “Aynadan İçeri” curated by Emre Baykal at Arter in 2014, this retrospective at the Ludwig Museum is the first overseas exhibition where the artist’s works can be seen as a whole.

Curated by Barbara Engelbach and Emre Baykal, the exhibition gathers around 90 works selected from the artist’s production spanning various periods, including some borrowed from the Arter Collection, with the earliest ones being drawings from the series “Alan Ayırmak” (1965-66). The exhibition aims to shed light on Onur’s unique production, which is free from categories, her fundamental concerns and questions accompanying this production, the evolving diversity of materials in her works over the years, and the narrative and sometimes autobiographical elements she adds to her works. The retrospective also includes Onur’s installation titled “A Room with a Muse / Perili Oda” (2023), developed specifically for this exhibition, along with her large-scale installations from different periods such as “Çiçekli Kontrpuan” (1982 (2023)), “Opus II Fantasia” (2001 (2023)), “Eski Eşyaların Düşü” (1985), “Bir Çocuğun Gözüyle Savaş” (1994), and “İm’in İm’i” (1987). The music for this installation was composed and performed by Begüm Çalımlı upon the artist’s invitation.

Füsun Onur Retrospective Exhibition Ludwig Museum September 16, 2023 (3)

In connection with the exhibition at the Ludwig Museum, a catalog will be published, including introductions by the co-curators and an introduction by the museum’s director, Yılmaz Dziewior. The catalog will also feature essays by Süreyyya Evren and Nilüfer Şaşmazer shedding light on Füsun Onur’s place in Turkish art history, as well as an interview with the artist conducted by Merve Çağlar. A selection of ten articles reflecting the artist’s thoughts on aesthetics, criticism, and the politics of art, written by Onur from the 1970s to the early 1990s, will also be republished in Turkish, German, and English. Designed by Esen Karol, the catalog will be published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König in Cologne in both German and English.

Füsun Onur’s retrospective exhibition at the Ludwig Museum, in collaboration with Arter, is made possible with the support of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, Kunststiftung NRW, REWE Group, Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig, and Beatrix Lichtken Foundation.

Füsun Onur Retrospective Exhibition Ludwig Museum September 16, 2023 (1)
Füsun Onur

Füsun Onur, whose artistic production has spanned nearly six decades, continues to shape her entire body of work within the enchanted world of Hayri Onur Yalı in Istanbul, where she was born and raised and where she still resides. Exploring form, space, time, and the relationships between them with an extraordinary diversity of materials, Onur incorporates everyday, narrative, and autobiographical elements into her works. The artist’s early abstract geometric forms have evolved into works that blur the boundaries between sculpture and painting, moving towards installations that reference and interpret the spaces in which they are located. A significant portion of the works produced by the artist in different periods can be seen together at the Arter exhibition “Aynadan İçeri” (2014), curated by Emre Baykal, accompanied by a book designed by Esen Karol. Onur’s installation titled “Opus II – Fantasia” (2001), which was added to the Arter Collection in 2011, was adapted to the gallery space at Arter with a new spatial arrangement in 2021, curated by Emre Baykal. The artist’s installation “Evvel Zaman İçinde…” created for the 59th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2022, curated by Bige Örer, was also displayed at the Turkish Pavilion in the Arsenale.

Additionally, Füsun Onur and her sister İlhan Onur, who passed away in 2022, donated Hayri Onur Yalı in Kuzguncuk, where they were born and raised and where the artist still resides, to the Vehbi Koç Foundation with the desire for it to be opened to the public as a museum-house and to host guest artist programs curated by Arter in the future. While the ground floor of the yalı, which witnessed the entire artistic production of Füsun Onur, is preserved, the upper floor is planned to be transformed into a guesthouse for artists from various disciplines. The artist’s studio on the lower floor will be made available for use by guest artists.

Füsun Onur Retrospective Exhibition Ludwig Museum September 16, 2023 (2)

ABOUT FÜSUN ONUR

Füsun Onur, one of the leading figures in contemporary art in Turkey, completed her education at the Department of Sculpture at Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts. After receiving a Fulbright scholarship for her master’s degree, she continued her studies in sculpture at the American University in Washington D.C. and later at the Maryland College of Art. Her focus on form, space, time, and the relationships between them, which she explored during her student years while trying to discover her unique artistic language, continued to shape her work after she returned to Istanbul in 1967. She held her first solo exhibition at Taksim Art Gallery in 1970. With the introduction of an unusual variety of materials into her work, her art expanded towards everyday, narrative, and even autobiographical elements. The abstract geometric forms found in the artist’s early work gradually evolved into works that blurred the boundaries between sculpture and painting and moved towards installations that referenced and interpreted the spaces they occupied. In addition to various solo and group exhibitions in Istanbul, Füsun Onur’s works have been featured in many international exhibitions, including the Paris International Young Artists Biennial (1971), Istanbul Biennials (1987, 1995, 1999, 2011, 2015), Moscow Biennial (2007), and documenta(13) (2012). Her works have been exhibited in various art institutions, including Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2001), ZKM, Karlsruhe (2004), Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2005), and Neues Museum, Nürnberg (2018). A significant portion of her works from different periods was brought together in the Arter exhibition “Aynadan

İçeri” (2014), curated by Emre Baykal. Onur’s installation titled “Opus II – Fantasia” (2001), which was added to the Arter Collection in 2011, was displayed in 2021 with a new spatial arrangement curated by Emre Baykal. Her installation “Evvel Zaman İçinde…” created for the 59th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2022, curated by Bige Örer, was also exhibited at the Turkish Pavilion in the Arsenale.

ABOUT EMRE BAYKAL

Emre Baykal (b. 1965, Istanbul) graduated from the Department of English Language and Literature at Boğaziçi University. He worked as Deputy Director (1995–2000) and Director (2000–2005) at the Istanbul Biennial. From 2005 to 2008, he served as the Director of Exhibitions at santralistanbul. In 2008, he began working as the Director of Exhibitions and a curator at Arter. In 2013, Emre Baykal curated the Pavilion of Turkey at the 55th Venice Biennale. Since 2016, he has been the Chief Curator of Arter. Emre Baykal has curated numerous exhibitions at Arter, including Sarkis (SONSUZ, 2023), OyunBu (2022–2023), Füsun Onur: Opus II – Fantasia (2021–2022), Tedbir (2021–2022), Ayşe Erkmen (Beyazımtırak, 2019–2020), Saat Kaç? (with Eda Berkmen; 2019–2020), Ali Kazma (Zamancı, 2015), Füsun Onur (Aynadan İçeri, 2014), Volkan Aslan (Hatırlamayı Unutma, 2013), Haset Husumet Rezalet (2013), Mona Hatoum (Hâlâ Buradasın, 2012), Deniz Gül (5 Kişilik Bufet, 2011), İkinci Sergi (2010–2011), and Görünmezlik Taktikleri (with Daniela Zyman; 2010–2011). He has contributed writings to many publications.

ABOUT BARBARA ENGELBACH

Barbara Engelbach studied Art History, German Literature, and Cultural Studies in Freiburg and Hamburg. She completed her doctoral studies on body art and video art in Hamburg in 1997. From 1997 to 1999, she worked as a research assistant at the Westfälisches Landesmuseum in Münster and contributed to Skulptur Projekte Münster 1997 and co-curated Skulptur-Biennale im Münsterland 1999 in 1998. From 1999 to 2004, she served as the Art Director of the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Siegen. Since May 2004, she has been working as a curator at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, where she is also responsible for the museum’s contemporary photography, film, and video collections. Barbara Engelbach’s publications and exhibitions primarily focus on contemporary art, photography, video, film, as well as art in the public sphere, intermediality, medium specificity, and the history of traditional genres.


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