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The End – Akbank Sanat International Curator Competition (Istanbul, Turkey)

June 4, 2016

For more background on this case please read “Post-Peace” exhibition cancelled in Istanbul

For the past five years I have had a great pleasure to witness the Akbank Sanat International Curator Competition evolve into a strong international curatorial platform. Over the years I have developed the structure of the competition and coordinate the jury and the reviewers of the applications during the lengthy review process. During my tenure as a coordinator I have been appointed on a project-based and have not been employed as a staff member of Akbank Sanat (I need to state this due to some speculation as to my position within the organizational structure of the hosting institution).

Following the cancellation of the Akbank Sanat International Curator Competition 2015, I invested a great deal of my time to help in assisting the situation. I offered my time to discuss the situation with representatives from the institution and with the 2015 laureate Katia Krupennikova, curator of the exhibition Post-Peace and the jury. I tried my best to find constructive solutions by (1) discussing the cancelation and what lead to it with the curator and the institution; (2) following the failure to reinstate the exhibition, and subsequent consultations with the curator, to help find other alternative solutions to showing the exhibition in its entirety or separate presentations of individual works in various other venues and contacting some of them; and (3) proposing to discuss issues and responsibilities of exhibition making, curatorship, and art production with other media.

Unfortunately and despite my best efforts, I did not succeed. The destructive tone in the reactions of all involved along with the accusations and the lack of clarity persistent throughout. Under the present circumstances, both my efforts and the goal of the competition have become pointless. Therefore, I decided to relinquish my involvement with the Akbank Sanat International Curator Competition and I have informed the organization of my decision. With this statement, I would also like to inform the public as well that I am deeply sorry to witness the loss of all the accumulative effort that was built collectively over the years.

I am very grateful to Jack Persekian, Francis McKee, Anne Barlow, Christine Tohme, Branko Franceschi, Susanne Pfeffer, Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, Sam Bardaouil, Till Fellrath, Bassam El Baroni, Paul O’Neill, Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ for having served as jury members and given their incredible input and knowledge in making this award a respected international opportunity for emerging curators. I also would like to thank Duygu Demir, H.G. Masters, Leonardo Bigazzi, Yane Calovski, Tina Sherwell, Ece Pazarbasi, Annie Belz, Stephanie Bailey and .vül Ö. Durmuşoğlu for their invaluable involvement and participation in the early stages as reviewers of the applications. Last but not least, I am very honored to have had the opportunity to experience the exciting proposals of the selected winners Alejandra Labastida (2012), Franz Thalmair (2013), Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk (2014), and Katia Krupennikova (2015) and the large number of artists involved in their remarkable projects. I am also thankful to Akbank Sanat for supporting and hosting this project all through these years.

Başak Şenova, organizer of the Akbank Sanat International Curator Competition

As former jury members and reviewers of the International Curators Competition at the Akbank Sanat in Istanbul, we would like to acknowledge and state our support of Basak Senova and her decision to effectively end her tenure as its coordinator. As a colleague of great integrity and an acute sense of fairness, Basak Senova has tried to come up with a productive solution to save the competition she initiated in 2012. We want to underline that solidarity between curators and cultural workers is very important and, in context of this unfortunate outcome of such worthy international project, it becomes even crucial.

Jury and Reviewers of Akbank Sanat International Curator Competition (worked between 2011-2015): Jack Persekian, Francis Mckee, Branko Franceschi, Anne Barlow, Christine Tohme, Susanne Pfeffer, Sam Bardaouil, Till Fellrath, Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, Paul O’neill, Bassam El Baroni, Hans D. Christ, Iris Dressler, Duygu Demir, HG Masters, Leonardo Bigazzi, Tina Sherwell, Övül Ö. Durmusoglu, Ece Pazarbaşı, Annie Belz, Stephanie Bailey, and Yane Calovski.

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