Art Exhibit Highlights The Important Role of Masks in Our Lives

Cocoon is the exhibition space of Contemporary Istanbul Foundation, in the historical Fisekhane building in Zeytinburnu, Istanbul. It is now hosting Baksi Museum’s latest exhibition, ‘Masks/Associations’.

The ‘Masks/Associations’ exhibition by the Baksi Museum in Bayburt in northeast Turkey is now being hosted by Contemporary Istanbul Foundation’s exhibition space, Cocoon. Cocoon is located at Fisekhane, in the Zeytinburnu district on the European side of Istanbul.

The exhibition features twenty artists and designers who are commenting on the role of masks in our lives from the past to the present day, and how it has taken over the masses during the pandemic. The exhibition opened on February 11 and will run until April 21, 2021.

“The ‘Masks/Associations’ exhibition conceptualises the mask as protecting, hiding and affecting behaviour based on images, and displays its associations in artists and designers with creative acts,” say the art council behind the exhibition.

The Baksi Art Council consists of Professor Husamettin Kocan, Feride Celik, Banu Carmikli and Ozlem Yalim.

“Masks have existed in our lives throughout history. First we painted ourselves and hid behind masks to protect and camouflage ourselves in wild nature; then we carried out our rituals in pagan rites. ‘Protective’ masks turned into behavioural ones. … Masks today perhaps are on the agenda as never before, at the centre of our daily lives. … We wish for the ‘Masks/Associations’ exhibition to affect viewers such that they come up with new questions, new associations,” the council says.

Contemporary Istanbul Foundation Chairman of the Executive Board Ali Gureli says “our foundation was established in 2019 to support contemporary art and to reach the masses. We aim to have art, artists and designers to be in more contact with all sections of society.”
Gureli also points out that Baksi Museum, on whose Board of Trustees he is on, has come up with the exhibition and that it has traveled to Istanbul to be displayed for viewers at Cocoon, the CIF venue at Fisekhane in Zeytinburnu.

Professor and artist Husamettin Kocan says he has founded the Baksi Museum in Bayburt, “at the top of a hill.” Kocan tells TRT World that Baksi Museum has had to close down because of the pandemic, and the exhibition ‘Masks/Associations’ was hanging there, brand new, having opened in late September in 2020.

“Ali Gureli is on our Board of Trustees and also is a close friend of mine. We discussed [alternatives], and when I told him that I want to bring the exhibition to Istanbul he suggested this location. I accepted and I am very pleased with the result,” Kocan continues.

“I haven’t contributed much to this exhibition,” Kocan confesses. “Like all managers, I get the credit in the end,” he jokes and laughs heartily. “All these artworks were donated to us for our 20th anniversary. We started construction in 2000. The museum opened in July 2010. We plan to open a new exhibition in July 2021, an Osman Dinc exhibition.”

The artists participating in the exhibition are: Kerem Aris / Merve Aris, Mike Berg, Halit Berker, Beyza Boynudelik, Simay Bulbul, Mehmet Dere, Firat Engin, Aykut Erol, Hatice Gokce, Mustafa Horasan, Gulten Imamoglu, Alp Ismen, Enis Karavil, Mehmet Kavukcu, Sinan Logie, Feleksan Onar, Irfan Onurmen, Ferhat Ozgur, Ozlem Suer, Gulcan Senyuvali, and Uniqka.

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