Image Credit: Banu Cennetoğlu

Aesthetics of the Political: Institutional Critique
hosted  by KANAL Centre Pompidou Brussels January 2021

“Aesthetics of the Political” is an on-going project by Samah Hijawi that reflects on the strategies that artists use to transform political and critical ideas into aesthetic form in their work. Realised in different forms of encounter, the project focuses on creating intimate settings for in-depth conversations about where the political gesture and criticality are embedded in artistic practices that reflect on hegemonic power structures in our lives today.

In this chapter subtitled Institutional Critique, commissioned by KANAL Centre-Pompidou Brussels, Samah Hijawi speaks with Banu Cennetoğlu (Turkey), Katleen Vermer and Ronny Heiremans (Belgium), and Yazan Al Khalili (Palestine/Netherlands), artists whose work offer different ways of probing the role of cultural institutions in their social and artistic contexts.

Saturday 16th January at 16:00pm Brussels time

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Aesthetics of the Political: Institutional Critique
In conversation with Banu Cennetoğlu

In this episode Samah Hijawi is in conversation Banu Cennetoğlu from Turkey, whose practice incorporates methods of collecting and archiving, and inquires into the politics of the production, classification, and distribution of knowledge.

Their conversation navigates through her works Being Safe Is Scary(2017) The List (2006-ongoing), Gurbet’s Diary (27.07.1995–08.10.1997) (2016–17), and Pavilion II, Within Limits 1921–1995 (2010), to explore how she delicately balances her position in relation to the materials she is working with, and at the same time implicates the institutions who host her, to become stakeholders in the socially and politically pertinent issues that her works bring to the table.

Banu Cennetoğlu is an artist based in Istanbul. Her practice incorporates methods of collecting and archiving and enquires into the politics of the production, classification, and distribution of knowledge. Her most recent work, Made in Fall. . . (2018), is a 127-hour-long film comprising a chronological and unedited archive of all the digital images she has amassed since 2006. Cennetoğlu is also a facilitator for The List, an ongoing collaboration with UNITED for Intercultural Action, a human rights NGO based in Europe. The  List traces information relating to the deaths of more than 40.000 people who have lost their lives within or at the borders of Europe due to state policies since 1993. Cennetoğlu partners with institutional collaborators to make this list visible through public display structures such as billboards, street posters, and newspaper supplements. Cennetoğlu is the founder of BAS, an Istanbul-based, artist-run space dedicated to artists’ books and printed matter. In 2016 she was a guest at the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.

Solo exhibitions include: K21 Ständehaus, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2019); Sculpture Center, New York (2019); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2018); Selected group exhibitions include: Actually, the Dead Are Not Dead, Bergen Assembly 2019; Beautiful world, where are you?, Liverpool Biennale (2018); documenta 14, Athens and Kassel (2017).


Katleen Vermeir and Ronny Heiremans

The videos and installations of the artist duo Vermeir & Heiremans investigate the complex relationship between art, economy and the built environment in today’s highly globalized world. The artists define their own house as an artwork. The 'house as artwork' functions as a framing device that allows the artists to zoom in on the role the arts play within the ever-growing entanglement between finance, urban development and governing. Their practice employs financial tools, historical references, technology, and cinematic language to reflect on social codes as well as on the production of value in today’s artistic and non-artistic realms.

Vermeir & Heiremans have exhibited their work for a variety audiences.

Nationally (selection): Ici et Maintenant, Brussels (2001); STUK, Louvain (2004); Recyclart, Brussels (2006); Manifesta 9, Genk (2012); Argos, Brussels (2012); Extra City, Antwerp (2012); Triennale Brugge (2015); Staycation, Brussels (2020)

Internationally: 10th Istanbul Biennial (2007), Casino Luxemburg (2008); Arnolfini, Bristol (2009); Nam June Paik Art Center; Yongin (2010); Viennale, Vienna (2011); 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial (2012);  Riga Art Space (2013); 13th Istanbul Biennale (2013); Stroom, Den Haag (2014); Rotwand Gallery, Zurich (2014);  Dojima River Biennale, Osaka (2015); Curated by_Vienna at Georg Kargl Gallery (2015); Transmediale, Berlin (2016); Bucharest Biennale 7 (2016); Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin (2017); Kadist, Paris (2017); Glassyard Gallery, Budapest (2018); Art Brussels (2018); Pump House Gallery, London (2018); Kunsten Museum, Aalborg (2020).

Yazan Al Khalili

Born 1981. Lives and works in and out of Palestine. He is an architect, visual artist, and cultural activist. His works have been exhibited in several major exhibitions, including among others: KW, Berlin 2020, MoCA Torento 2020, New Photography, MoMA 2018, Jerusalem Lives, Palestinian Museum, 2017, Post-Peace, Kunstverein Stuttgart 2017, Shanghai Biennial 2016, Sharjah Biennial 2013.

He received a degree in architecture from Birzeit University in 2003 and in 2010 received his MA degree from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmith's College, and in 2015 his MFA degree at Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam. He was one of the founding members of Zan Design Studio (2005-2010), and Radio Alhara (2020). In 2015, he co-organized Walter Benjamin in Palestine workshop and symposium, and has been the director of Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre between 2015 until end of 2019.

Currently he is co chair of Photography discipline at the MFA program at Bard College NY, a Phd Candidate at Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, UvA, and guest artist in residence at Rijksakademie, Amsterdam.