[ISEA2011] Panel: Maya Bal­cioglu – From Turkey With Love

Panel Statement


When Wen Ji­abao vis­ited Turkey in Oc­to­ber 2010 (the first Chi­nese pre­mier to do so) a bi­lat­eral agree­ment to triple trade to $50bn within five years was the most sig­nif­i­cant out­come.  Also in Oc­to­ber Turk­ish news­pa­pers re­ported that Chi­nese war­planes took part in a mil­i­tary train­ing ex­er­cise at an air­base in cen­tral Turkey, in what is a first in­volv­ing China and a Nato mem­ber coun­try. As one of the world’s fastest grow­ing economies, Turkey has been po­si­tion­ing it­self to boost eco­nomic and trade re­la­tions across the re­gion as well as glob­ally. The cul­tural dis­courses en­cour­aged in Turkey today should be seen as part of the cen­tral plank of the Turk­ish for­eign pol­icy: eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and cul­ture as part of a pack­age of trade and in­vest­ment port­fo­lio. As state fund­ing for the arts in Turkey hardly ex­ists and what there is has his­tor­i­cally been un­der­stood in na­tion­al­ist, her­itage and tourism terms, my pre­sen­ta­tion will con­tex­tu­alise the busi­ness arm of the arts and the al­most ex­clu­sive pri­vate pa­tron­age that is the con­tem­po­rary arts in Turkey today.

  • Maya Bal­cioglu was born in Is­tan­bul, Turkey, in 1955, and ar­rived in Lon­don, UK, in 1977. She stud­ied at Brighton (be­cause it was by the sea) and the Slade School of Fine Art, Lon­don, sup­port­ing her own ed­u­ca­tion by work­ing in fac­to­ries, night shifts and cater­ing jobs. She col­lab­o­rated with Stu­art Bris­ley on The Ceno­taph Pro­ject (1987-1991) and edited the pub­li­ca­tion for this pro­ject.  De­cided to mir­ror a busi­ness and set up a shop as an ex­per­i­men­tal space and a pro­posal to test ideas in pub­lic with an im­me­di­ate and un­am­bigu­ous risk el­e­ment. This space was es­tab­lished within the com­mer­cial par­a­digm, fail­ure was real and meant se­ri­ous losses. It had a core iden­tity es­tab­lished by pre­sent­ing cer­tain ‘goods’, other than that it had no am­bi­tions as a busi­ness and its pur­pose was kept de­lib­er­ately un­clear. The flex­i­bil­ity of the spec­u­la­tion proved to be a light footed suc­cess. The “shop” was voted as one of the best 50 in the world. At the height of its suc­cess the busi­ness was no longer rel­e­vant. It be­came a model for oth­ers to fol­low, and there­fore was closed.  Maya Bal­cioglu is part of the cu­ra­to­r­ial team of the Mu­seum of Or­dure.