May 21 – August 28 2022

Gülsün Karamustafa – After the Cosmopolis

Lunds konsthall is proud and pleased to present a retrospective exhibition of one Turkey’s leading contemporary artists.

Gülsün Karamustafa, Mermaid, 1986
Gülsün Karamustafa, Mermaid 1986. Mixed media on paper 54 × 68.5 cm. Courtesy the artist and BüroSarıgedik

Gülsün Karamustafa

Gülsün Karamustafa (born in Ankara in 1946, lives in Istanbul and Berlin) has been a central figure in the Turkish art scene since the early 1990s. Her versatile and incisive practice has been a crucial influence on younger generations of artists in her country, not least because of her professional ability – and moral resolve – to articulate strong political and artistic convictions.

From the early 1970s onwards, Karamustafa has efficiently mined politics, history, religion and culture (not least popular culture) to build a substantial oeuvre spanning a variety of media including painting, installation, film and performance. All of these topics, genres and formats are represented in this exhibition.

Gülsün Karamustafa: After the Cosmopolis’ is curated by Charles Esche and is her first major solo exhibition in Sweden. It was recently premiered at Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, where Karamustafa’s practice was featured alongside that of Argentine artist León Ferrari. At Lunds konsthall, her more recent pieces are accompanied by a more generous selection of the earlier and more overtly political works, adding valuable contextual and aesthetic meaning to the display. Visitors will encounter works on paper from the 1970s as well as extensive new installations created specifically for this exhibition.

Throughout her life and career, Karamustafa has dedicated herself to critical investigations of feminism and gender, migration and inequality, cultural tradition and change, urban development and destruction. She has engaged with leftist politics and the struggle for democracy and freedom of expression, often risking her own security and convenience. After the military coup of 1971 she and her husband, graphic designer Sadık Karamustafa, were both imprisoned, and she was prevented from travelling abroad until 1987.

After the Cosmopolis

The title of the exhibition at Lunds konsthall, ‘After the Cosmopolis’ references Karamustafa’s ongoing—indeed increasing—concern for the evolving everyday realities and ‘inner life’ of her city, Istanbul, which in previous periods was the very embodiment of cosmopolitanism. Many, if not most, of the exhibited works are directly connected with this great city, from paintings like Pera Beer (1983) to films like The City and the Secret Panther Fashion (2007) or the installation Stoic City (2021).

The exhibition is accompanied by a free-distribution illustrated catalogue, in Swedish and English, with an essay by art historian Eve Kalyva and an interview with Karamustafa by curator Vasıf Kortun.

Gülsün Karamustafa’s work is in major museum collections such as the Guggenheim in New York, Tate Modern in London, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, mumok in Vienna or the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Recently, major exhibitions of her work have been held at SALT Istanbul and Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. She received the Prince Claus Award from the Netherlands in 2014 and the Roswitha Haftmann Prize from Switzerland in 2021.

Warm thanks to the artist for her engagement and valuable contributions to the exhibition. We also thank her husband Sadık Karamustafa, who has contributed to the design of the timeline that puts the exhibited works in societal and biographical context. In addition, we thank Charles Esche, Director of the Van Abbemuseum, and his colleagues for their generosity, which has made it possible to bring this exhibition to Lund. Special Thanks to BüroSarıgedik in Istanbul for lending most of the artworks.

Curator: Charles Esche

Artist Talk

On Saturday 20st May at 6.30 pm you are welcome to join us for an Artist Talk, Gülsün Karamustafa in conversation with the art critic Frida Sandström – free entrance.
Read more about the Artist Talk

Interview  Gülsün Karamustafa