Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Istanbul Modern


So today I thought I would go venture to look at the Istanbul Modern museum. All the guidebooks have it has one of the top worthwhile things to do in Istanbul, so why not. I took some notes while there, this is them!

Once I passed two layers of security and paid for my ticket, and then attached the sticker to myself to prove I had in fact actually paid for a ticket, I was inside. I headed to the left because there was noise coming from there...

So this section is mostly devoted to video presentations, or video installations of some kind. Apparently all these artists have just discovered what went on in the assembly demos of the early 90s and now this demands wall space at a modern art museum. The first thing you see in this section is a set of six TV screens of simplified objects jumping or moving about to an annoying four beeps desending in tone. It's just a white background with green 3d shapes that move with some sound. By reading the plaque next to it you find out they are all shapes of  land mines and this is meant to show landmines in a cartoonish MTV style to make you think about them... Just paint "Visit Laos" up on the wall if that's your message. You're welcome.

Well apparently that first group of screens set the tone. After passing through a room with a light enclosed in a sphere of different coloured glass sections (more what I expected) I ended up in another room with three projectors in it. In this room they were projecting three fractal trees up on the walls that animated by modifying some function of the trees twistiness (just a number you throw at the fractal function) and then they were unwinding again. This one annoyed me even more because this is basic day one 3D programming stuff (OK maybe day three). Apparently this was first used in 2005, so, the massive library of fractal tree programs and videos was passed over for this particular version for reason x. No Idea what reason x is.

I ventured further into this section for some reason. In another room you get to watch a short video about two guys on donkeys up in some mountains asking which way to Tate modern at a fork in the road (the only part I saw). In yet another room there is a video that alternates between shots of the exterior of a hotel and the shots of the same hotel with curtains flapping about and you get to hear some sirens in the background (the message here is that war is bad mmmkay, and yes, they spent a good two paragraphs spelling that out on the plaque next to the door). Now they're just provoking my rage.

This whole section felt like there were hidden cameras recording my 'WTFISTHIS' face in amongst people looking at everything with slightly tilted heads and nodding at how amazing it all is.

In another room there was what looked like a framed screenshot of a plasma fractal up on the wall. The artist had taken a photo and then modified it to the extent that it looked like a plasma because he wants to show the hidden side of photographs or something. I really lost interest while reading the paragraph on the plaque.

The last thing in this section was a video of a paintbrush being swirled around in a bowl of water and the paint dispersing through it. There was probably something else to it, but I was more distracted by how the fire extinguisher in the corner was more arty and impressive than the museum version of youtube.

I think this whole section made me want to smash my own face in with a hammer...

On to the next section... Which had a lot of paintings from the early 1900s. Perhaps my definition of Modern is different to this place.

There was a piano suspended from the ceiling, but with balloons at the top of the ropes. Yep, I know what the artist wanted me to think here, but I think he knows what I actually think.

There was a life size photo of an elephant at one end of the large room. The elephant part of the photo had been badly cut out from the background and then tilted from the rest of the photo. It left bits like a tusk on the background section and also part of the elephants back. I read the plaque and found out the artist used a stock photo for this one. Well done. Again, I think this artist also knows what I'm thinking.

And then I stumble upon another tv screen, this time of a lady kissing every part of a room to leave lipstick marks everywhere. At one point she's on a ladder and as I'm watching I'm hoping she'll fall off into a psychiatrists office or at least break a bone or something. Failing to see her fall I moved on disappointed.

I also saw a sculpture made of nails. But it was nothing compared to Kerry Kings armband during the 80s.

Then I went Downstairs to have a look.

The stairs leading down were surrounded by glass that looked like it had a lot of bullet holes in, this actually looked pretty good and I think this was the best thing in the museum. Here's a site with pictures. There's also text there which annoys me greatly, almost every plaque in the museum read like that. Now that I've read it I'm not sure I like it so much.

Downstairs are the temporary exhibitions. On this day there were lots of paintings that look like posters layered on walls and torn down. Exactly like you'd find in any city. And there were lots of examples  here. Many many many of them. Yep, I've seen a wall in a city and what posters layered up on them looks like. And now I've seen that same thing on a canvas many times over. Art! Some of them had other things stuck to the canvas, like tyres, lifebouys, or chain... Random.

Another section had hundreds of books suspended from the ceiling. This was good, but then they had to go and spoil it by saying that the mix of Western and Turkish books meant something (or they just ran out of Turkish books to put up? Or the other way round?)

The photography exibit was mostly normal, covering different styles of photography and being slightly educational. The only things of note were the cubism bit and the way they mounted some photos under perspex, which I might steal the idea for.


A lot less urge to hit myself in the face with a hammer on this floor. Maybe not even with the claw end of the hammer either.


The other thing of note was how much security there was. Probably because on that top floor they're trying to provoke everyone to burn the place down...

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