Pera Museum's latest exhibition "Crystal Clear" recently opened its doors to visitors. Focusing on crystals, ranging from the perfectly transparent to the completely opaque, central to humans in the realms of science, magic, technology, healing, they are a "perfect example of the fluid and porous boundaries between the animate and inanimate, organic and inorganic," according to the museum website. The exhibition explores concepts, such as the ethical and ecological issues that arise in extracting crystal matter, but goes further, devising methods of sustainable curation, using crystals as a launching point. Bringing together the works of artists of different backgrounds, the project puts an emphasis on artistic cooperation and will be on display until March 7, 2021.
Pera Museum, a subsidiary of the Suna and Inan Kıraç Foundation, is putting 2020 behind it with a new exhibition, inspired in many ways by the global crisis. Curated by Elena Sorokina, “Crystal Clear” brings together the works of 20 artists from an array of countries, whose works focus on environmental and societal issues through the illuminating medium of crystals. The exhibition, which curators and artists have approached with an ecological sensibility, has put radical limits on the shipping of objects in a bid to lower the event's carbon footprint, encourages creative recycling strategies and promotes local collaborative productions.
The works reflect each artist's creative and political perspective but also their sensory and emotional stigmas, focusing on issues such as global transparency, human-soil relations, new bodily behaviors that have arisen during the pandemic, languages and their place in the media. The exhibition's diverse list of artists from various countries and generations includes the likes of Sammy Baloji, Minia Biabiany, Katinka Bock, Bianca Bondi, Gaëlle Choisne, Kıymet Daştan, Elmas Deniz, Sinem Dişli, Gluklya (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya), Deniz Gül, Ilana Halperin, Gülsün Karamustafa, Yazan Khalili, Paul Maheke, Şener Özmen, Iz Öztat, Hale Tenger, Güneş Terkol, Berkay Tuncay and Adrien Vescovi.
For Sorokina, the curator of the exhibit, crystals are a perfect metaphor. Describing the roots of the projects, she explains: "Scientists typically describe crystals as 'growing,' even though in their eyes they are not alive. Many living organisms, such as mollusks, are able to produce crystals. In ancestral cultures, crystals and minerals are regarded as sentient." Taking the properties of crystals, the exhibition puts greater emphasis on ecological curation in reaction to the pandemic and showcases pieces that question global problems.
According to Sorokina, the books, “Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime” by Bruno Latour and “The Transparency Society” by Byung-Chul Han, were the driving force behind the exhibition. Referring to both thinkers she explains: "Today anyone can obtain information about anything. Everything – and everyone – has become transparent, unveiled and exposed. Yet transparency has its dark side and can turn into opacity, without us even noticing it."
Through its experimental implementation, "Crystal Clear" aims to create an ecosystem of production relationships that prioritize sustainable curatorial practices in a classical exhibition format.
The catalog comprises of an introduction to the exhibition by curator Elena Sorokina, an article that inspired the project by renowned thinker Bruno Latour, art historian Spyros Papapetros’ article on the structure and characteristics of crystals and artist Katy’taya Catitu Tayassu’s articles on crystal-based shamanic healing and rituals as well as descriptions and photographs of the artists and works featured in the exhibition.
“Crystal Clear” is on display on the third floor of Pera Museum until March 7.