Mediations Biennale


Ben başka bir sen
Sen başka bir ben

curatorial texts

On the 29th of October 2023 We will open the show the 10th Anniversary ASIA-EUROPE Mediations Biennnale entitled: I AM ANOTHER YOU, YOU ARE ANOTHER ME at Artİstanbul Feshane under the auspices of the IBB Culture Department, in the context of the 10th Anniversary of the Republic of Turkey and IAM – Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw in Poland.
We refere to the 0 Mediations Biennale which was initiated in 2007 with was entitled ASIA – EUROPE MEdiations – Asian Attitude – European Attitude and gathered artists from 33 European and 34 Asian countries. Since the beginning of Poland in the year 966 it was most of its history a limit of a christian Europe and Mongolian or Turkisch Empire and now again faces the war on its east border. in this 2023 year we would like to see the dialog between Asia and Europe from a different perspective of Istanbul a metropoly placed on the both – asian an european sides of Bosphorus Strait which connects the Mediterranean and Black see.
Our title I AM ANOTHER YOU, YOU ARE ANOTHER ME is a Quote by Mawlana Jalal-ud-din Rumi as well it is a Maya greating – In Lak’ech Al K’in – I am you, you are me, which is a more simple expression of a deep respect for every creature you encounter, reminding you that everything is inextricably connected. ⁣ It speaks of our oneness as people, our oneness with the Earth, with the plants and animals. We need one another now more than ever.
17 curators from Asia Europe and but also other continents will present various media art works of more then 140 artists.
At the Opening The Dance and Movement Theater Rozbark from Bytom in Poland togehter with japanese butoh dancer will present a trans dance performance: Darkness around Dullness, based on Adam Mickiewicz’s Dziady – Forefather’s Eve.
This project is already the 3rd edition after Nakanojo Biennale, Open City festival in Lublin, of the global dialog and research program entitled SHAPES OF BEAUTY 2023/25 as a respond to the violent, epidemic, migration, economic and climat catastrophes, lost of idealism and beauty as an expression of human nobility and dignity.

Artistic Director – Tomasz Wendland

Empathy of Post-Exoticism

The contemporary art exhibition aims to present a new artistic experience in which empathy is no longer an emotional resonance, but an exchange of ideas, emotions and spirituality between individuals. Through this exhibition, viewers will be able to experience a spiritual exchange that transcends language and cultures and re-examine the relationship between people and the world. In the current era, cultural exchange between countries is becoming more frequent as globalisation accelerates. Art, as an important means of expressing individual thoughts, feelings and spirit, is also constantly enriching and expanding the spiritual world of human beings. Contemporary artworks from all over the world are selected for this exhibition. The works show not only the artists’ deep exploration of human emotions, but also demonstrate the connection between globalisation and cultural diversity through the mutual influence and exchange between many cultures. By discovering and experiencing the similarities and peculiarities between different cultures, individual people can achieve the goal of reducing cultural barriers and promoting intercultural communication.

Gu Zhenqing, LvHongrong

Beauty in the Fog

There’s something big inside me and I can’t get it out. It’s a silent, bigger self that sits and watches the smaller self do things. Everything I do seems fake to me; they are not what I want to say. I’m always aware of an impending birth. It’s as if for years the baby wants to be born and can’t be born. You are always waiting and always feeling the pain of birth. And yet there is no birth.” Beauty is a medium, „beauty is the path that leads to self-destruction”, to our deepest being. Only by filtering human existence through the icon of beauty are we able to perceive the divine essence.

Contemporary artists of our generation create art that responds to numerous ideas that reflect society. We are also living in difficult times, with politics, the economy and daily crises hitting ordinary people. How can we continue to live in this corrupt world where right-wing political narratives dominate? How can artists escape and work with a singular language of beauty that has multiple meanings and responds to social issues?
The notion of 'Beauty in the Mist’ responds to a selection of artists whose work stimulates our imagination by observing the different methodologies used in their work. Artists are very fond of magicians transforming objects or artefacts into something unique, something stunning that has both an inner and an outer power. It is this artistic power that regenerates new ideas, making you feel that life can have meaning. Art transforms life in a beautiful way. The title Beauty in the Mist refers to how artists create art that can bring a sense of wellbeing simply by looking at the art.
Some of the work may be about politics and other social issues, but the initial images are enticing and beautiful. The art is beautiful both with layers of fog that only the viewer can respond to.

Alnoor Mitha

From the exotic body to the post-exotic body

Post-structuralism, Post-ideology, Post-Fordism, Postcolonialism, Post-Internet are among the definitions we most often find in relation to current artistic practices. It would seem that, for several decades now, the world has been undergoing a phase of rejection of all the theories that animated the cultural debates of the past century, and, moreover, we have the impression that, between the latter part of the second half of the W twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, this demand for redefinition of current cultural, social, economic and communicative phenomena has accelerated somewhat.
However, this urgency for redefinition has not resulted in many new definitions, but rather in a proliferation of 'postisms’, which could be described as attempts to move beyond a concept while noting its subsequent relationship to it. If, on the one hand, this trend seems to resonate with the famous phrase of the American conceptualist Douglas Huebler, who said: „The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I don’t want to add more”, so why add more definitions in a world that is already almost saturated with them? On the other hand, the tendency to create postisms can also be seen as a ploy to ensure a kind of cultural continuity with previous categories.

In the early 1990s, the French writer known by the pseudonym Antoine Volodine described the literary genre he had invented in an interview as 'post-exotic’. Thus, another post-ism that has been quite recurrent in his writings since then.
Volodin has tried several times to clarify the meaning of the term without being able to explain it completely. „Post-exoticism” seems to be a kind of container of words, containing the most diverse definitions, but above all a literary ploy to provide a set of references capable of structuring and legitimising Volodin’s fictional work. Post-exotic literature is literature from another place, in which the distant has not so much a spatial valence but rather an identity valence, and the notion of otherness, which underpins the very idea of exoticism, manifests itself more as a multiplication of individual identities and as a form of alienation in itself
rather than as a form of alienation towards towards the other. This literary genre does not refer to representations of other latitudes, but to representations of fictional places whose fidelity ensures the creation of identities and the multiple overlapping of temporal lines.
Evidently, Volodin’s post-exoticism has little to do with the notion of exoticism as an aesthetic category prevalent in the colonial era, but rather with the ancient meaning of the Greek word exo 'outside’ or exôtikos 'stranger, outside’. However, this strangeness appears in relation to the self.
Indeed, the very notion of exoticism today would seem almost meaningless or, in any case, associated with another century. In this latest phase of globalisation, which some specialists have begun to call „post-global”, an age of migration, cultural hybridisation, constant mobility, connectivity and virtual networks covering the entire surface of the planet, the concept of exoticism still makes sense. ? On closer inspection, there is no longer even an 'externality’ as another space in relation to the hyper-connected global system. When we think of the notion of 'outside’, we increasingly associate it with the idea of being off the grid, and thus with an offline state.
Whereas today, the notion of 'reachability’ is considered in general terms, in terms of virtual accessibility and connection rather than geographical distance. The idea of unknown and mysterious territories is a mirage of the pre-modern past. Today, nothing escapes the virtual network that surrounds the planet, and social networks remind us that there are a growing number of users on all continents who use the same applications and the same virtual tools every day.
Thus, the one who is far away is no longer the one who is at a different longitude, but rather the one who is forward or backward on the timeline. The notion of otherness seems to manifest itself more forcefully when we are in the domain of temporal distances, and what was once an 'exotic fascination’ or predilection for the exotic is now manifested rather in relation to a mythologised past, or simply an idealised one in which we are others. In the present era, one could say that the post-exotic state is one that divides humanity as a whole, since all the peoples of the earth are now in a more or less advanced stage of modernity. In light of these considerations, Volodin’s literary invention goes beyond the boundaries of narrative fiction, taking on a much broader meaning that can encompass the fields of artistic creation and aesthetics. Applied to the field of contemporary visual arts, the definition of post-exoticism proves particularly effective and useful in identifying a set of artistic attitudes or stances, as the curator Harald Szeemann might have defined them, which are united by a fascination with the phenomenon. dimension of alienation from the present and which have grown out of the assimilation and overcoming of postmodern narrative. Post-Exotic artists are united by an approach characterised by a tendency to reclaim pre-modern aesthetic forms in order to rework them according to contemporary taste. Rejecting the critical or parodistic spirit that animated postmodern artists, the past is seen as a mythical time, but above all as a key to understanding contemporary malaise.

There are many such artists whose work could be described as post-exotic. In this aesthetic category, we could include the Shinto-futurist works of the Japanese artist Mariko Mori, the sculpture-mansions dressed in nineteenth-century costumes of waxed fabric by the Anglo-Nigerian Yinka Shonibare, the installations of liquidised carpets by Faig Ahmed, the work of the Egyptian Moataz Nasr, who constantly mixes traditional aesthetic references with current socio-political issues, the fetish sculptures of Pascale Marthine Tayou, but also among artists who could be described as 'Western’, Jan Fabre and his constant aesthetic and formal references to the Flemish Renaissance, Berlinde De Bruyckere and his installations that refer to the tradition of Vanitas, the paintings of Nicola Samori, which bear witness to his obsession with realism and the dark tones of Italian Baroque painting. So it is no longer a question of rejecting the avant-garde or the principle of innovation at all costs, but a conscious and well-determined desire to reactivate certain artistic values and aesthetic concepts of the pre-modern era. To contribute to the establishment of a kind of reconnection of multiple human identities out of place in the chaos of the post-global world. During the 4th edition of the Land Art Biennial in Mongolia, one of the founders of the female collective Nomadic Wave, the young artist Eya Gambat, reflected on her identity and that of the Mongolian nation, which has been put to the test for a long time. The Soviet period. After the attempted cultural substitution by the communist government, which for decades tried to impose socialist values on the country, Mongolia today faces the urgent need to 'rebuild’ its own cultural identity. Eya Gambat, who for several years has been trying to metaphorically repair the tear created during the Soviet period through her artwork, said that she often felt like a 'tourist’ in her own culture. The sense of detachment from one’s origins, one’s culture and the past of one’s people creates a state of otherness of the individual, which seems to be shared by many artists across the five continents. This powerlessness also seems to be the source of the demand to re-appropriate lost time, which also manifests itself in this demand for attachment to pre-modern identity values. The question of the body and artistic performance is part of a post-exotic aesthetic in connection with the theme of individual and collective identity. Above all, it is important to return to the notion of the 'exotic body’, which by definition is the body of the other, in which we find qualities that fascinate us because they differ from our own, because they are perceived as distant, atypical. And which remind us of other places, other
latitudes or lost paradises. The exotic body is a passive body. It is on it that the gaze of the Western traveller, the anthropologist, the coloniser rests. Often in the colonial imagination we find the motif of the exotic body treated as an erotic object [1]. But as we noted at the beginning of this text, 'looking at the other’, as a form of aesthetic escape from the banality of everyday life, has almost no relevance today. This 'other’ is not only among us, but within our multiracial societies, the other is often us. Moreover, in the post-global world, the non-Western citizen also looks to the West, creating forms of cultural resilience such as the concept of Westernism, often mentioned by Indonesian artist Eddy Susanto. The proliferation of perspectives and 'looks’ also ruptures the idea of the exotic contributing to its definitive exhaustion.

On the other hand, the concept of the post-exotic body is still unexplored. How then could we define it? The post-exotic body is also the body of another, but the other is itself the subject, i.e. the possessor of this body. So it is again a field of projection and fantasy, but it concerns other identities of the subject itself. In the concrete case, it is the performer’s body that projects itself into another time and dimension in search of an aesthetic and formal reconnection with its multiple identities. The post-exotic body is an active body that imposes itself as an exotic object. In terms of the corpus-memory theorised by Jerzy Grotowski, the post-exotic body stores individual and collective memories of the past, as well as plastic and aesthetic values, often attached to a particular community or locality. It is the body of this kind of artist that becomes simultaneously anthropologist and shaman, artistic object and generator of social bonds, such as the Nigerian Jelili Atiku, whose participatory performances resemble complex Yoruba rituals, Romina de Novellis, whose performance processions are inspired by the popular traditions of southern Italy, Nikhila Chopra, whose performances often explore the trauma of the individual’s uprooting in postcolonial India. The post-exotic body is thus not only a visual tool capable of depicting the artist’s invisible journey, but also a territory for the artist’s journey through time, a space for catharsis and reconciliation of the traumas of modernity.

Valentina Gioia Levy

 [1] Boëtsch Gilles, Savarese Eric. « Le corps de l’Africaine. Érotisation et inversion », in : Cahiers d’études africaines, vol. 39, n°153, 1999. p. 123-144.

The Self-suppression Island

Inspired by the earliest Taiwan’s modernist literature, The Mysterious Self-Suppression Island written by the pseudonymous “No Name” during the colonial period, the exhibition weavestogether the realms of prison, war, political movement, and everyday life, offering a nuanced exploration of the dynamics of power, identity, nations, and the struggle for recognition. Theexhibition invites visitors on an allegorical journey embarking from Taiwan’s coloniality, which is guided by the speculative narratives of the short story coded by Hegelian master-and-slave. „The Mysterious Self-Suppression Island,” tells a visit to a mysterious island, much in the fashion of Thomas Moore’s Utopia, to discover that the islanders are wearing iron collars that in turn can make them feel no need to eat, work, think, and be ashamed. It serves as a testament to Taiwan’s early literary landscape and offers a critique of coloniality and post-coloniality that internalized in political governmency and cultural assimilation shaped the lives of Taiwanese people, which is restrained by physical and metaphorical confinement and becomes a powerful symbol for the excluded subjugation endured by the colonized.
In contexts where history and culture are marginalized or disregarded, a tendency towards selfdenial often emerges, leading to the acceptance of value systems imposed by outside rulers, as depicted in Wu Zhuoliu’s novel „Orphan of Asia.” It is through the native slave’s direct connection with nature that this recognition unfolds, forging a profound bond that transcends the constraints imposed by power dynamics. Within the confines of control, the slave discovers their own existence, thus attaining a form of recognition that arises from being unrecognized a testament to the inherent dignity of labor, which embodies „the fight to the death” of self-consciousness in its ultimate triumph over the other. In Taiwan’s multifaceted histories, the dialectic of master and slave, exemplifying the struggle between subjects for recognition, continues to be observed in contemporary everyday life as individuals and collectives assert their individuality and identity.
” The Self-suppression Islands” intertwines these narratives, creating a space for contemplation and dialogue. Through visual and immersive artworks, the exhibition seeks to illuminate the multifaceted mensions of power, identity, and recognition. Artists from diverse backgrounds explore the intricacies of human relationships, the influence of dominant governance, and the quest for self-recognition within sociocultural hierarchies. As visitors engage with the exhibited artworks, they are encouraged to reflect on the historical and contemporary contexts that shape our understanding of power dynamics, personal identity, and the pursuit of recognition. The exhibition invites us to question the narratives that shape our lives, confront the complexities of colonial legacies, and seek a deeper understanding of the human experience. It calls upon visitors to challenge prevailing narratives, as “No Name” who writes against the hegemony of powers, and to strive for a more inclusive and equal universe.

Hongjohn Lin

Sławomir Decyk

ur. w 1968 roku, mieszka i pracuje w Poznaniu. Od 2002 roku jest pracownikiem Wydziału Fotografii UAP. Zajmuje się szeroko rozumianym zjawiskiem fotografii, instalacją oraz obrazem ruchomym. Refleksyjną postawę jego działań twórczych cechuje konfrontacja zapomnianych lub pomijanych metod obrazowania z aktualną praktyką doświadczania medium, definiowanie granicznych obszarów fotografii (w szczególności tych określanych jako postmedialne), poszukiwanie nowych środków wyrazu i narzędzi pozwalających przekroczyć własną wyobraźnię. Jest współtwórcą Solarigrafii i autorem unikalnej serii Cyklografii. Brał udział w ponad 70 wystawach w Polsce i za granicą, między innymi: Wielkiej Brytanii, Australii, Chinach, Hiszpanii, Kanadzie, Niemczech, Słowacji. Od roku 2020 prowadzi Pracownię Fotografii Eksperymentalnej na Wydziale Fotografii Uniwersytetu Artystycznego im. M. Abakanowicz w Poznaniu.