Conceived to coexist with a space, to embrace spatial references and associations, or to forge a different space altogether, the works of Sarkis are reinterpreted and transformed by the artist on every occasion they are exhibited. The exhibition titled ENDLESS, presented on Arter’s 2nd floor, brings together a selection of the artist’s works from the Arter Collection in the same gallery space for the very first time, endowing them with a new life and new experiences.
ENDLESS spans a wide period of time in Sarkis’ production, from the 1980s through to Respiro – an installation exhibited in the Pavilion of Turkey at the Venice Biennale in 2015. In addition to concepts and themes frequently encountered in Sarkis’ works, such as warming, burning, camouflage, memory, traces, atelier and home, ENDLESS emphasises the crucial role played by light, colour and music in his artistic practice. In the exhibition, Sarkis restages works charged with memories of different pasts and places – such as Icons of Istanbul (1986–2023), Elle Danse (1990), Transflammation (1996–2001), Mixed Retrospective (2001), Calling (To the Bees) I (2013), as well as the mirrors and neon lights from Respiro which were donated to the Arter Collection in 2021 – and reinterprets each of them within a larger body they construct together in their current setting. ENDLESS mainly consists of existing works drawn from the Arter Collection, but also features two new pieces welcoming visitors as they enter the space. Sarkis requested staff members working on the exhibition setup to leave black fingerprints on the wall, calling to mind an era burdened by political upheavals, natural disasters and loss. Just beside this dark circle, a wheelchair adorned with white feathers looks ready to move at any moment and leads us to the lights and colours of Respiro, paving a way for hope.
Sarkis also sustains his dialogue with other artists, both his predecessors and contemporaries, through the works presented in this exhibition. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata No. 127 and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 15 resonating from the works installed at opposite ends of the space, converge with the music composed for Respiro by Jacopo Baboni-Schilingi, transforming ENDLESS into a staging for three independent textures of sound orchestrated by the artist. The works of Ali Kazma and Domenika Kaesdorf, included in ENDLESS at Sarkis’ invitation, further enrich and broaden the world Sarkis builds in the exhibition.
ENDLESS brings together Sarkis’ works produced in different mediums and times in order to stimulate new relationships among them and expand their distinctive memories on a new journey he sets up in the exhibition space.
Press release from Arter