An exhibition experience independent of time and space: 'Museum without Walls'

Aiming to bring a new exhibition experience by moving arts to the digital environment, British Council has launched ‘Dancing with Witches’, third edition of the digital arts platform ‘Museum without Walls’ on 16 January. Curated by Mine Kaplangı, the exhibition focused on the theme of ‘woman’ and for the first time in its history, it brings together paintings, prints, photos and videos by contemporary artists from Turkey besides a selection of art works from the British Council Collection.

An artistic view to the world of witches...

The exhibition takes inspiration from a current focus on the witch/woman as a symbol of power and works of English literature which foreground women’s rights and equality. The viewers are invited to a journey, through a selection of art works from the British Council Collection, that underpins the role of female artists whose presence and influence within the history Western art has been concealed or swept aside, with the addition of works by contemporary artists from Turkey. 

The third edition of the British Council’s award-winning digital arts platform ‘Museum without Walls’, ‘Dancing with Witches’ aims to open a space for an intercontinental dialogue by showcasing from various contemporary Turkish artists along with more than 20 artworks chosen from the Collection’s different historical periods. Some of the participating artists are Fatma Bucak, Canan, Nilbar Güreş, Gözde İlkin, İstanbul Queer Art Collective, Erinç Seymen and Pınar Yolaçan from Turkey and artists Anya Gallaccio, Paula Rego, Roger Eckling, Alan Davie, David Nash, Madame Yvonde and Grayson Perry from the British Council Collection, accompanied by William Blake’s ‘The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy’ (also known as ‘Hecate’).

A digital exhibition experience, expanding into four different rooms

It is possible to trace the marks left not only within the history of the West but almost in all mythology and cultures congruently, by an understanding of the notion of witchcraft and the witch as a figure. The witch figure is often defined as any person who uses magic or a symbol of independent female authority and resistance to male domination. It is because of this that this symbolism is frequently taken up in literature, the arts and particularly in story telling as a figure of empowerment for women. The exhibition provides four different rooms, containing four different perspectives regarding witchcraft and the witches: ‘Myths and Stories’, ‘Rituals and Symbols’, ‘Familiars and Nature’ and ‘Portraits’, which includes paintings, prints, photos, videos and many others in search of a rereading of representations, symbols, rituals that continue to exist; the power of nature with the diversity it manifests and spells.

Accessibility

According to the data gathered by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies, there are over 4.8 million people in Turkey with at least one disability. This number constitutes 15 per cent of the total world population. ‘Dancing with Witches’ brings together a selection of curated visual art work from the British Council Collection and Turkey with an aim to create a new exhibition experience that all internet users, including people with disabilities, could easily access. By prioritising accessibility, the online exhibition was designed specifically to be accessible from every desktop or mobile device in the world and it was customized to serve a comfortable exhibition experience for people with disabilities. By providing audio descriptions and sign language translations of the texts and works, ‘Museum without Walls’ offers the freedom of movement and discovery. Visitors can get literary, visual and auditory information about the works and the artists.

About Mine Kaplangı

Born in 1987 in Istanbul, Turkey, Mine Kaplangı lives and works in Istanbul. Kaplangı is the co-founder of Collective Çukurcuma, a curatorial collective from Istanbul, Turkey. She recently completed a residency at Basis Frankfurt and will be curating their summer show in 2019. Kaplangı worked as an artist representative and curator at BLOK art Space Contemporary Art Space, Istanbul between 2014-2018. She studied philosophy at Istanbul University and received an MA degree in Philosophy of Arts & Aesthetics in Bologna University, DAMS Faculty. Currently working as a freelance editor for contemporary art platforms such as Artunlimited (Istanbul) and Artfridge (Berlin) Kaplangı has curated various exhibitions such as; House of Wisdom (Nottingham, 2018, Public program of the 15th Istanbul Biennial and Framer Framed, Amsterdam, 2017), Asymmetric Kin (Coop Gallery, Nashville, 2016) and Detail (BLOK art space, 2016).

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