Stour Space Gallery will be hosting a group show with artists Ralph Anderson, Amelia Bowles, Secil Erel and Antoine Langenieux-Villard on November 10th. Senem Cagla Bilgin whom we know closely from her previous exhibitions in her homeland Turkey will be the curator of this upcoming group show. Now based in London, Senem Cagla Bilgin founder of Art Elsewhere, tells us more about the exhibition, the newly founded ArtElsewhere and which direction she is heading in the art world.
ARTSNOB: Can you tell us the story behind “Art Elsewhere” how it all began?
SENEM CAGLA BILGIN: It actually started when I was in Turkey and working for different contemporary art galleries as a curator. I’d realized that after I’d been working for two or three years in the same galleries, the artists and the people were the same. We started to repeat ourselves as curators, as galleries and even the artists were making similar artworks and talking about the same problems that had never been solved. I thought this was Turkey’s art market but it was everywhere. I saw the same problems in different countries and it occurred to me that art galleries might not exist in the future. The people who want to survive in this market need to build a network, discover new things, experiment with their skills and inspire each other. First of all, if you think that you are a contemporary artist or gallery, you can’t be local. Contemporary art represents globalism, communications and finance that you cannot refuse. Art Elsewhere started from here. I don’t think about having a permanent place to locate each exhibition or artist. Instead of doing this, I prefer to discover new art spaces and artists for each project, different people to collaborate and to create something exciting with.
ARTSNOB: Where is “Art Elsewhere” heading?
SENEM CAGLA BILGIN: Art Elsewhere aims to be more international, accessible, alternative, and to be a curatorial organization and offer art consultancy for everyone.
ARTSNOB: What is Art Elsewhere in terms of vision, aim function?
SENEM CAGLA BILGIN: Art Elsewhere has a vision of finding, creating and showing contemporary art from all over the world. Also, it aims to be the bridge between artists and various art spaces by carrying out art events and exhibitions. We are discovering and curating periodic art events in different venues internationally, doing the PR and graphic design for projects. Exhibitions and artists are featured in our ‘Elsewhere’ magazine.
ARTSNOB: Now you are curating the very first exhibition, all the artists are from different disciplines and different countries. What was the purpose of this?
SENEM CAGLA BILGIN: I’ve been talking about the idea of Elsewhere and everything, I think I’ve already answered this question. If you want to show contemporary art, it has to come from different places and cultures. So, that you can find a gap for yourself and be part of it, understand, compare and experience what’s going on in the market now.
ARTSNOB: Can you tell us a bit about the exhibition?
SENEM CAGLA BILGIN: Interstices brings together artists from different places and sub-cultures around the world. Exhibiting artists from England, France, Scotland and Turkey, this exhibition aims to inhabit the space between their cultures. An experience starts between space and artwork. The two main concepts that form this experience are defined as time and place. David Harvey animated time not as a flow, but as memories of living places. Therefore, he defends the opinion of history -as the main material of social expression- leaving its place to art and time leaving its place to space. These definitions that manifest the decisiveness of an individual’s senses in perception of space and time, also have a place within modern and contemporary art. Interstices argues that the experience of an artwork is only realised through being physically in front of the work. The exhibition presents artworks that have contemporaneous physical and retinal paths, creating niche abstract systems of colours, dimensions and layers. Holding within them the rhythms of the individual’s memory and daily life. When presented together the artworks generate new energies and re-establish their identity. Artists use different techniques and materials in similar ways which are collage, painting, pattern, map, tactile sensation, illusion and physical reality. Interstices is the first exhibition held by Art Elsewhere. The exhibition features artworks by; Ralph Anderson, Amelia Bowles, Secil Erel and Antoine Langenieux-Villard. The exhibition will take place on the 10th of November 2017 at Stour Space Gallery, London.
ARTSNOB: How did you come to a decision of working with Secil Erel?
SENEM CAGLA BILGIN: When I moved to London, I began looking for new artists to work and collaborate with in the future. This project took me a long time to create because you know when something is happening for the first time, it takes more time than usual. I met Antoine, Amelia and Ralph and we’ve been working on this exhibition project for a while.
After Secil moved to London, we met for a cup of coffee and spoke about collaborating sometime in the future. When I went home, I checked her website again and realized her work would be perfect in juxtaposition with the other artists and that was it. The following day, we agreed on this project.
ARTSNOB: How will Art Elsewhere be placed or defined in the art scene in London?
SENEM CAGLA BILGIN: London is a city like traffic itself and art also. Everything changes every second and you have no control over that. The only clever thing you can do is to be part of that flow, and it’ll take you wherever you want to go. I’m not going to tell you clichés. Art Elsewhere does not aim to be placed or defined as a popular company name in London. It’s not our mission nor target. If we try this, there will be no difference with what has been done in the art scene until now. Art Elsewhere will be the part of this traffic and it will transform itself in time with other cities and cultures.
ARTSNOB: What are the future plans of “Art Elsewhere”?
SENEM CAGLA BILGIN: I’m looking for alternative gallery spaces in New York, so the next exhibition might be in New York. Also, I’m working on another exhibition project which will be more focused on research and there will be collaboration with artist residences for this specific project. Our prevision is to explore what is outside the borders of the art scene. I believe there is a lot to discover and experiment with. Finding out what this vast unknown has to offer and making it known and part of our lives are our objects.
ARTSNOB: As a curator from Ankara you yourself have moved to London. What are your basic thoughts on the Turkish Contemporary Art scene as a London based art curator? Tell us what you think.
SENEM CAGLA BILGIN: I’m always inspired by Turkish Contemporary Art. Few doubt that Turkey’s contemporary art scene is one of the liveliest in the world. The country has witnessed an explosion of museums, non-profit organizations, commercial galleries, art collectors and more. Also, we have very successful and talented artists. The problem is with the establishment who’ve been working in this market for a long time. They don’t want to make room for the younger generation and this creates a ‘closed intelligentsia’ and ‘fake bourgeoisie’ which has become very popular everywhere.