4th Mardin Biennial

Connceptual Framework


“Beyond Words” is the headline; and “Infinite Sight”, “Body Language”, and “Boundaries and Thresholds” are its subheadings… These subheadings indicate our distinct yet interrelated approaches as curators of the 4th International Mardin Biennial. Each theme is a mechanism affecting, linking and expanding into each other. The language of art under each subheading is formed with the belief that we all can meet there that lies beyond “words” — where we are all called to meet at the 4th International Mardin Biennial to produce meaning beyond words.

Historical narrations and the act of seeing, the phenomenon of looking that constitute the foundations of cultural/artistic systems, sets out from the conflicting view that although it is limited, the view point of humans cannot be confined to limits. We set out from a point seeking ways for complementing the ‘missing’ with different points of appraisal that could lead to new perspectives. On the other hand, the proposal to engage with various methods of bodily expression aims to open up new channels of creativity where the healing, unifying, and empowering forces of creation can flow. The focus passes from sight to the body so as to go beyond the political, cultural, scientific, and social dynamics, toward where lies a reality that is “one” for everybody. Then space becomes the point where all possible thoughts converge, so much so that, for quite some time now, it confronts them and will continue to do so beyond all physical and mental spaces, of boundaries and thresholds of every individual and social practice.

“Beyond Words” brings together various forms of artistic expression created through the languages of sight, the body and space-making that the artists make visible and raise awareness about. The audience is invited to experience how expression turns into art in places that lie beyond words.


Fırat Arapoğlu

Lecturer at Altınbaş University Economics, Management and Social Sciences Faculty; art historian, critic and independent (freelance) curator. Among Arapoğlu’s curatorial works are; “Body-Space” (with Ebru N. Sülün), “Sudden”, “IDs Please!”, “Re-De/Generation”, “Other Bodies” (with Erkan Doğanay) “Sufficating Culture” (dedicated to Jean Dubuffet), “Democracy and Conflict”, “Museum Within Museum”, “İstanbul und Berlin: Tell Me”, “I Know a Place Where We Can Go”, “Homo Homini Lupus or Forgetting Tomorrow”, “Distance and Contact”, “Intertwining Axis”, “Marx 2.0”. He assumed the curation of the 3rd International Uluslararası Çanakkale Biennial and co-curation of the 3rd International Mardin Biennial. His articles on art were published in national and international periodicls such as: Gençsanat, Art-Ist Modern & Actual, ICE, ARTAM, Art Unlimited, Critical Culture, RH+, İstanbul Art News and Flash Art, as well as in the BirGün and SOL dailies. He has penned national and international symposium manifestos on art and art education.

Nazlı Gürlek

Is an artist, curator and art writer based between Istanbul and Palo Alto, California. She is the founder of UMA, an interdisciplinary platform for creative research and production rooted in ancient traditions of Anatolia. Her performative art piece “ONE” was staged in September at Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilisations (ANAMED) in the context of ANAMED’s exhibition “The Curious Case of Çatalhöyük” that celebrates the 25th excavation season of Çatalhöyük and as a parallel project to the 15th Istanbul Biennial. Most recent curatorial positions include curator of “CANAN: Behind Mount Qaf” exhibition at Vehbi Koç Foundation’s Arter – Space for Art (2017-18), curator of the collection at Borusan Contemporary (2014–15) and curator of programmes at Maçka Sanat Galerisi (2011–12), all in Istanbul. Gürlek has also worked as a curator-in- residence at the CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, and took part in Independent Curators International’s curatorial intensive programs ‘From Official History to Underrepresented Narratives’ at CCA Derry-Londonderry, and ‘Curatorial Seminar in Istanbul’ where she presented her curatorial research papers at CCA Derry-Londonderry and SALT Galata (2013). She is the author of a few publications including “Nature is Our Body,” ArteEast Quarterly: The Global Platform for Middle East Arts (Spring 2016), “Sarkis and When Attitudes Become Form” (SALT Istanbul, 2013) and İnci Eviner monograph (Revolver, 2011). Her writings appear in international art magazines such as Frieze, Camera Austria, Art Asia Pacific, Flash Art International, The Exhibitionist. She holds an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths College, London, and a BA in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence.

Derya Yücel

She is a curator, writes aricles on art, academician and member of the Turkey Board of Directors of AICA (Association of International Critics of Art). She studied Art Management, Museology and History of Art. Between 2006 and 2017 she worked at the İstanbul (Kültür Üniversitesi) Culture University, and as of 2009 she is a lecturer at yılından beri İstanbul Bilgi University, Art and Culture Management Department. As of January 2015, she was responsible for the Exhibition Projects of Sabancı University’s KASA Gallery. Among the many curatorial work conducted by Yücel are: “Korea-Turkey Contemporary Art Exchange Exhibitions”, Incheon/Seul/İstanbul 2006-2007, “Save As” Milano Trienale Bovisa 2008, “28th Istanbul Exhibition of Contemporary Artists”, Akbank Sanat 2009, “Nil Yalter” Vienna Galerie Hubert Winter 2011, “Reunion” Sabancı Museum 2015, “Formless”, İstanbul-Belgrade 2014-2015, “All the Lights We Don’t See”, Galerist 2017, “Semiha Berksoy With Love” O’Art 2017, “HOME”, Müze Evliyagil Ankara 2017, and BASE Exhibition of New Graduates Platform, Galata Greek School 2017. Her books entitled New Media Art and New Museology (2012), Nil Yalter, Artist’s Monografy (2013), İrfan Önürmen Artist’s Monografy (2015) and Semiha Berksoy: Cataloque Raisonne (2017). Many of her articles on art have also been published in other compilations, printed/digital meda.


Albena Baeva
Ali Emir Tapan
Ana Mendieta
Aslı Bostancı
Aydın Teker
Bilge Alkor
Cengiz Tekin
Ceren Oran & Burcu Yılmaz
Chaw Ei Thein
Chris Burden
Çağrı Saray
Didem Erbaş
Eda Aslan
Emre Zeytinoğlu
Fırat Bingöl
Gizem Aksu

Guy Ben Ner
Hasan Pehlevan
Huo Rf
Iliko Zautashvili
İhsan Oturmak
İnsel İnal
İpek Duben
Janis Rafa
John Gerrard
Julian Stallabras
Ken Friedman
Lewis Hine
Leyla Postalcıoğlu
Magali Duzant
Mahmut Celayir
Maria Papadimitrou

Metin Çelik
Mustafa Avcı
Mürsel Argunağa
Nasan Tur
Özlem Altın
Parastou Forouhar
Ramize Erer
Romina Meriç
Sara Kostic
Senem Gökçe Oğultekin
Serkan Taycan
Seyhun Topuz
Simon Faithfull
Taner Ceylan
Youssef Nabil

Biennial Team

Director:Döne Otyam
Curators:Fırat Arapoğlu, Nazlı Gürlek, Derya Yücel
General Coordinator:Hakan Irmak
Exhibitions Coordinator:Canan Budak
Project Coordinator:Cansın Seyhan
Advertising And Sponsorship
Project Director
:Hülya Kızılırmak
Project Asistans:Güzel Sanatlar Fakültesi Öğrenciler
Biennial Campaign:Çivi Yaratıcı Fikirler
Campaign Trailer:Nadin Akıncı
Photograph and Video:Mehmet Çimen
Graphic Design:Ali Aydoğan
Graphic Design Asistans:İbrahim Ayhan, Merve Bubekoğlu, Ceylan Amak
Web Programming:Yusuf Candan, Erkan Süder
Coordination:Nuri Yılmaz, Aykut Irmak
Archive:Azad Aldanmaz