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© Kinga Cichewicz, Ljublijana, Slovenia

This past year has been a very difficult one for all of us. 2020 felt really long but at the same time, we couldn’t achieve most of the things we envisioned or wanted to do. At the beginning of each year, we tend to have an everlasting list of new year resolutions, expectations and objectives. Having spent the first half 2020 alone in London far from home, making the decision of closing my office following the pandemic and making two of my part-time staff redundant due to Covid-19, I felt like a failure. At the beggining of the year, everything seemed on track and that I was making progress until March — then suddenly — the tables were turned. The fact that I also lost my grandma recently this year, didn’t help. However, now looking back respectively I can see there were a lot of lessons, valuable moments, achievements and conversations I established. A good thing this pandemic allowed us to do was to look at things in perspective again. …

With all of its uncertainties and tragic events 2020 was by far one of the most difficult years in history — but we shouldn’t expect everything to go back to normal in 2021 either.

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Photo credit Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images.

With a global pandemic followed by many redundancies and economic volatility, climate change issues, nationwide and international protests over racial injustice, a contentious presidential election in the US dominated the news this year. Just when we thought there was a glimpse of hope with Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines being circulated to NHS, London and many surrounding areas were forced into Tier 4 as a new fast-spreading variant of Covid-19 was blamed for an increase in cases. All of us are thinking “I can’t wait for 2020 to be over, so we can get back to normal.” But is that the case? …

Remembering a brave new world by Chila Kumari Singh Burman

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Tate, © Huma Kabakcı

I must admit, when I first came acrross the images of Chila Kumari Singh Burman’s Tate Britain Winter Commission I thought to myself “Wow, what a Kitsch Galore!”. Shortly after Tate Britain’s annual Winter Commission was unveiled on 12th of November to its visitors, social media went bonkers — It probably helped that London was in its second lockdown and all indoors activities were on hold. The lighting up of the commission titled remembering a brave new world coincided with Diwali and combines Hindu mythology, Bollywood imagery, colonial history and personal memories. Though very Instagrammable, I wanted to see the installation in real life. It did help that I live walkable distance from the Museum itself and after a long week day stuck at home, I saw it as a nice evening excercise. For a Thursday evening, there was definetely an outdoor concert vibe. People were not only posing infront of the neon lights but formed a social gathering, sticking around. …

“The end is the beginning and yet you go on”

Samuel Beckett, Endgame

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Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson

Ever wondered what ephemeral art was? What it means when an artwork can only be experienced?

Temporality and the ephemeral has always been a topic I have been interested in — perhaps this is because as human-beings we are also temporal in this universe. When we examine ephemeral art, we can see that it is usually described as an art form that reflects a desire to dematerialize the art object in order to evade the demands of the market, or to democratize or challenge art museums and collections. However, in many ephemeral artworks something much more fundamental is involved — spectatorship, memory and documentation are questioned. There are many forms of ephemeral art, from sculpture to performance, but the term is usually used to describe a work of art that only occurs once, like a happening. A clear definition of ephemeral art is difficult to give in a straightforward, conventional way, as both material and conceptual sides of the problem need to be addressed. Materiality is probably the most easily defined. Ephemeral comes from the Greek word εφήμερος — ephemeros, which literally means short-lived, lasting but a day. Therefore, it could be concluded that ephemeral arts are often made from materials and things that have short duration and form-holding capacity, such as sand, snow, or ice, or more often from materials that tend to decompose or change through natural processes, such as the case in Land art. Ephemeral art is inherently modern and contemporary. …

This article was first published for Syrup Magazine in 2017.

In a rapidly shifting global climate, we are urged to reflect, re-evaluate and re-imagine recent and not-so-recent socio-political issues in order to move forward. Increasingly, international art institutions, biennials and organisations are taking a step back, adopting art as the ultimate ground for reflection, individual expression, and freedom as way to answer fundamental questions.

Art has the power to embrace life, to open up to a wider discourse and make us think in periods of seeming global disorder. The global anxiety acts like a domino effect: it is difficult to comprehend that the fear of terror, migration, or the “other” is in truth not directly associated with a clearly defined material threat. In his book Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear, Dan Gardner argues that terrorism poses ‘an infinitesimal risk’ to the lives of residents in Western countries. [1] Supporting Gardner’s statement, recent data gathered by the Cato institute compared to the threat posed by refugee terrorists suggests that the typical American is 6 times more likely to die from a shark attack or 6.9 …

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Sarah Lucas’s “Sandwich” (2011–2020), Frieze Sculpture at Regent’s Park London.

A lot of us have conditioned ourselves that the year 2020 was cancelled. We constantly remind ourselves that it is a year to take a step back, learn something new, rejuvenate…but can we really stay in the present?

For a lot of professionals in the art world, it is a pivotal week. In any normal year, the art world’s jet-setting crowd would be lost in London for Frieze week, a gathering of fairs, auctions, exhibition launches and of course parties. Unfortunately not this time- the pandemic has officially crushed the art calendar. What is Frieze art fair without a full-on programme of events and its international art crowd? With all physical fairs being cancelled except for 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House, Frieze launches its own digital version though some participants will hold exhibitions in their galleries in tandem with the virtual event. A dozen of sculptures are in Regent’s Park as a part of a scaled down Frieze Sculpture only on display for two weeks instead of its usual 2 months display. …

On Tuesday the 29th September twenty-nine tonnes of carrots have been dumped from a truck onto Goldsmiths university campus as a part of an installation by Rafael Pérez Evans. Instantaneously, images and videos of the orange tide of carrots became viral. While sharing a picture of the street, the Times journalist George Greenwood tweeted “Does anyone know why a significant volume of carrots has just been dumped on Goldsmiths university campus?”. Thousands of tweets were made shortly after, with many trying to figure out the mystery behind the carrots. …

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“Dough, Baby” by Laura Wilson performed by Iris Chan and Adam Moore at the Swiss Church (London), organised by Open Space. Photo credit: Ben Peter Catchpole.

Following months of uncertainty with a turbulent year starting off with Covid-19, increasing visibility of racism beyond the USA, climate change, the continuing conflict in the Middle East, global economic imbalances and more, I finally decided to open up an account at Medium. At a time where people are glued to their laptops and smart phones more than ever, with a constant bombardment of both factual and unfortunately abounding false information I wanted to treat this platform as an experimental writing space. As a curator with a practice of over seven years and a founding director of an itinerant organisation — Open Space — supporting emerging creative practice, and promoting dialogue, I will be writing about the current socio-political issues around contemporary art. …


Huma Kabakci

Huma Kabakcı (b. London, 1990) is an independent Curator and Founding Director of Open Space, living and working between London and Istanbul.

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