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Exhibition at santralistanbul Explores Tense Territories

An exhibition titled "Tense Territories," featuring visual explorations of the spatiality of human relationships and identities by Saskia Holmkvist, Sini Pelkki, Jussi Puikkonen, Carrie Schneider and Sauli Sirviö, is currently on display at the santralistanbul Contemporary Arts Center.

The curator of the show, Aura Seikkula, explains that following her curatorial residency at the Platform Garanti CAC in İstanbul in March 2007, she has been interested in working with the Turkish art scene. "For me İstanbul has a geo-politically. Culturally and historically interesting position to discuss territorial relations on an individual level in comparison with shared identities," she says in an interview with Today's Zaman.

Seikkula, who is also the curator of the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki, explains: "I wanted to elaborate on the ambiguous personal and social spaces that are redefined over and over again both in daily confrontations and in identity-building processes.
The exhibition questions whether in fragile social contexts the importance of defining and knowing oneself has risen above the feeling of belonging to a nation or to a culture," she says, adding that each one of the artists brings a very specific perspective to the issue. "They all discuss the development, challenges and necessity of individual territories on a personal level. I would not compare the characteristics of their works. I want to see them more as personal approaches that all offer a valuable statement."

The works in the show have a focus on "territory" and "dominance." Asked how each artist approaches these themes, the curator says Holmkvist elaborates on social strategies and construction and the way people engage in role positioning in conflict situations, while Pelkki's photographs and videos discuss the artificial environment that we've constructed around us. Puikkonen's photographic work questions the banality of everyday life and Schneider elaborates on the most primitive ways of being and the clifficulty of finding one's own space in family relations. Sirviö's autobiographical installation. On the other hand, plays with the intersections of identities and displays a mosaic of individual identities.

As to the photographic techniques the artists used, Seikkula explains that each of Steri uses the lens-based medium quite differently. Holmkvist has constructed a setting for dialogue, where the viewer is inside the situation. Pelkki's works are very delicate and minimal.
Puikkonen works at the intersection of photojournalism, art and fashion photography and underlines movement in his photos. Schneider's works are loaded with artistic and historical motives and Sirviö's photographs strongly evoke the feeling of the evanescence of the moment.

The exhibition. featuring a large conference room installation by Holmkvist, a series of photographs and videos by Pelkki, three photograph series by Puikkonen, three photograph series and one video series by Schneider and one large photograph installation by Sirviö, will be on display until Oct. 30 on the second floor of santralistanbul's Main Gallery.