Suppose You Are Not, Exhibition view, Arter, 2023 / Photo Orhan Cem Çetin
Suppose You Are Not
Jan 19 – Dec 29, 2024
Istanbul, Turkey

Curated by Selen Ansen, the exhibition Suppose You Are Not probes the ways in which the domestic context of a private collection can be transferred into a museum context. In so doing, it explores the possibilities of restaging and articulating the affinities created between distinct objects by means of a collector’s desires and endeavours. The exhibition, which spans the 4th and 3rd-floor galleries of Arter, brings together works by almost 400 artists, anonymous artefacts and mass-produced items, as well as multifarious objects. Initially formed for an individual purpose within the boundaries of a private space, now made public through a curatorial approach in an art institution, this body of works presents a world at the junction of times and forms that defy habitual classifications. This world, which brings to existence the collector as an abstract subject interacting with the artefacts in their possession, allows a form of experience that connects reality and fiction, as objects leaving the private sphere reformulate their unique character in a new context. Approaching the collection as a multifaceted and living organism, Suppose You Are Not proposes to reflect upon the kinship between the ordinary and the extraordinary, the practice of collecting and the objects that populate our daily lives.

Formed with works selected from the Ömer Koç Collection, Suppose You Are Not is concerned with finding worldly ways to rise upwards in the world where everything falls and keeps falling, and with providing possibilities to formulate infinitude where finitude is the rule. Based on Omar Khayyam’s (1048-1131) verses, where the poet reminds us to embrace life freely by transcending the limits of our own selves, the exhibition invites visitors to challenge given boundaries while exploring the attribution of new meanings to objects in a realm devoid of chronology and hierarchy.

In this territory populated by objects of all sorts, the conglomeration of books, furniture, paintings, sculptures and photographs not only tells us of human pleasures, desires, aspirations and dreams of past lives; it also reflects the spirited viewpoint of the collector. Suppose You Are Not delves into the passionate striving to collect and preserve the traces of humanity, the good and the evil, the ephemeral gestures, states, allusions and movements ranging from the most sublime to the most mundane, from the most permanent to the most ephemeral, which manage to persist by being conveyed from the dead to the living. Through the connections they give birth to in the exhibition space, the numerous works and objects brought together open up a field of vision that allows the emergence of new associations and alliances.

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