Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin: Democratic Luxury
October 16, 2015–January 31, 2016

Otobong Nkanga: Bruises and Lustre
October 16, 2015–January 17, 2016

Opening: October 15, with performance by Otobong Nkanga at 9pm

Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA)
Leuvenstraat 32
2000 Antwerp
Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin: Democratic Luxury
Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin (Istanbul, 1957–2007) was fascinated by the difference between the promise of something and its banal reality. This promise could lie in the name of a cheap hotel offering the experience of a distant place, or in the branding of a mass-produced product unconvincingly simulating luxuriousness or exoticism. Alptekin was an artist that saw the profound effects of globalisation on the everyday, observing the movement of people and products across geographies, and studious of forms of feral capitalism surging from places considered the fringes of Western modernity. It is the signifiers and detritus of all this—traces of the burgeoning effects of mobility, trade and image circulation—that Alptekin used as the materials for his artistic work, as a means for contemplating what it all represented. He focused on an artistic production broad in scope, which included photography, sculpture, installation, neon text, video and collage, reflecting the prosaic material qualities of “global junk” that came with the flow of this transnational trade. Part of the first generation of Turkish artists to be globally active and nationally influential, Alptekin is considered one of the most significant figures in the established contemporary art scene of Istanbul. Democratic Luxury is a major retrospective of his practice.

Democratic Luxury has been developed as a collaboration between M HKA and Rampa Gallery, Istanbul, with the displays across both venues together forming a retrospective of the work of Alptekin. Democratic Luxury has been organised in partnership with the Estate of Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, with the participation of M. D. Morris. The Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin archive is managed by SALT, Istanbul.

Otobong Nkanga: Bruises and Lustre
Otobong Nkanga is the inaugural artist invited to participate in the new IN SITU programme at M HKA. Nkanga has developed a multifaceted artistic practice over the last decade, offering active proposals for considering some of the most urgent issues of the present time. She has made artworks about the relations between the natural landscape, labour, people and their exploitation. One of the central concerns in her work is for considering the relationship between the extraction of raw minerals in one place, and the processing of these materials for producing commodity items in another. Her exhibition Bruises and Lustre looks at all sides of this equation. Nkanga’s artworks, whether in drawing, performance, sculpture or any other media, are built around a more holistic understanding of place, time and thing. For this exhibition, the artist has created new large-scale tapestries and a carpet for display alongside recent sculptures and drawings. Together, these elements form the setting for a series of performances throughout the duration of the exhibition. Otobong Nkanga lives and works in Antwerp.

Performance dates: October 15, November 28, December 17 and January 7

Bruises and Lustre is the fourth and final chapter in a series of projects by Nkanga, that began with In Pursuit of Bling at the 8th Berlin Biennial; followed by Crumbling Through Powdery Air at Portikus, Frankfurt; and Comot your Eyes Make I Borrow You Mine at the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris.

Otobong Nkanga has made a limited edition vinyl record to accompany this exhibition, which is a spoken-word audio piece by the artist titled WETIN YOU GO DO?. The record is published by Knots Audio and is available from the M HKA.

An extensive catalogue will be co-published in 2016 by M HKA, Portikus and Kadist Art Foundation.

Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin: Democratic Luxury and Otobong Nkanga: Bruises and Lustre are curated by Nav Haq.

*(1) Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, H-Facts: Hospitality/Hostility, 2003-07. Courtesy the Estate of Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin and Rampa Istanbul. (2) Otobong Nkanga, The Flow Will Not Stop!, 2011. Courtesy the artist and Lumen Travo. Collection Ekard.

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