Commissioners’ Exhibition

September 13–November 26, 2017
SALT Galata

Commissioners’ Exhibition suggests every noteworthy architectural endeavor is the result of a competent architect paired with an engaging commissioner. However, this relationship is often portrayed as antagonistic instead of being articulated as a common ground for production.

In a considerably widespread perspective where the architect claims other experts and implementers as enemies of her/his design, the commissioner is also caricatured as “ignorant and tasteless.” During the past forty years, while globalization in architecture has manifested itself in the profile of the wandering “starchitect,” the commissioner has come to represent a pragmatic type embedded in corporate investment and development schemes.

In the face of world’s urgencies, the exhibition reminds that channeling the architect’s skill, expertise, and efforts from creating a masterpiece to enabling an environment of shared production would also entail a reconsideration of the commissioner’s position.

Commissioners’ Exhibition studies the critical relationship between the architect and the commissioner through a number of buildings in Ankara, Çanakkale, Denizli, Izmir, and Istanbul from 1930s to 2010s. It focuses on commissioners’ influence over works of architecture, as well as their instrumental potential to initiate novelties, a much more important trait than the ability to provide resources, with narrations featuring original archival documents and interviews. The exhibition is spread throughout SALT Galata with notes from the renovation process of the building between 2006 and 2011. The selection, comprising relatively recent buildings contracted by private and public entities, is accompanied by a constellation of structures commissioned by women patrons during the Ottoman Empire. Installed as a new city map, the study enables an examination of the role women patrons played in Istanbul’s urbanization from 15th to 20th century.

Office of Useful Art
As of September 2017

Opening in September on the third floor of SALT Galata, the Office of Useful Art focuses on questioning the challenges the museums are currently facing, and also on expanding the potential of co-learning among the institution and the users. The Office is established in partnership with the Asociación de Arte Útil, a platform of international cultural institutions and universities. Centered around the notion of “arte útil,” which roughly translates to “useful art,” the platform suggests that art can be a tool or a device. Arte Útil investigates new methods and social formations generated by individuals, initiatives or communities to deal with issues that were once the domain of the state. The online archive, a collection of case studies from various geographies that responds to this notion, is presented and activated through a series of programs including workshops, exhibitions, and seminars.

The Office of Useful Art will provide new case studies from Turkey and the surrounding regions for the online archive. These new examples will be discussed along with a selection from the archive through public programs. The two-year period will foster further collaborations with users and constituents of SALT.

SALT Galata
Bankalar Caddesi 11
34420 Karaköy Istanbul

Image | Credits: METU pedestrian walkway, faculties of Architecture and Administrative Sciences in the background. SALT Research, Altuğ-Behruz Çinici Archive.

Graphic Design by Ishmael Annobil /  Web Development by Ruzanna Hovasapyan