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Istanbul 2000:108

Galerie Dürer
Goethe-Institut Istanbul, 2000

124 cardboard boxes, turkish newspapers,
8 water bottles, coloured light

Press release:

Roland Stratmann sets a playable installation in the middle of the exhibition. The people visiting the exhibition are lured out of their roles as quiet observers to active participants. They are invited to keep changing the shape of the expansive sculpture either by following the given rules or on their own. Towers, squares, solitary structures can be built. The starting point is a material block made out of 108 boxes. There are figures, "Watchmen" for the four groups of players and there are eight pointy towers serving as protection.
The boxes are covered with clippings from Turkish newspapers and contain impressions from the artist’s six month stay in Istanbul. With each change, that the people who are visiting and playing make, more and more information gets revealed. And a pool of urban impressions emerge. During the course of the exhibition, the image of an imaginary city develops and can be compared with the ever growing, constantly changing structures of a metropolis.
At the end of the exhibition the sculpture was dismantled. The elements of the installation were auctioned off to help the victims of the earthquake.
With the money of the auction a wooden house for a homeless turkish family was build.


Stapel – Made in Istanbul, 2000
Photo series Stacks

Equipped with a scholarship from the Berlin Senate, Roland Stratmann spent 6 months in Istanbul in 2000, where he discovered the motif of stacking so essential to the city. In the architecture of big cities, the principles of layering, overlaying and stacking are generally unavoidable. But in Istanbul, a city that has ripened over the ages, and whose buildings have been continually reinterpreted by the city’s changing systems of rule, the principle of stacking is particularly salient and culturally determining. Mosques therefore crown a substructure of warehouses, garages and shops, which in turn are built over a warren of subterranean cisterns, catacombs, sewerage systems, tunnels and escape routes. In the teeming, permanently mushrooming chaos of the bazaars and the sprawling "gecekondular" settlements of shacks built overnight, between slums and villa resorts, islands of order and structure emerge in the shape of stacks, some of which are orderly, other merely slapped together. The stacks are high, and an optimal use of the available space must be combined with the desire to display the full extent of what one has. Stratmann’s photographs explore this central theme in all its variations.