Glenn Ligon’s contributions to the Biennial pay tribute to US author and activist James Baldwin’s life in Istanbul. One of the works Ligon will present is Sedat Pakay’s filmic portrait of Baldwin in Istanbul, From Another Place, which the artist has subtitled in Turkish for the first time. In two related videos, the artist pairs crowd scenes shot in Taksim Square with music from contemporary experimental musicians. Accompanying these videos are the newest in a series of neon sculptures that display the word ‘America’. Ligon has installed these using mahyas, strings of lamps or lights strung between minarets on mosques during Ramadan – a departure from his usual medium of neon for the series. The work will change in appearance every two weeks during the exhibition.

Glenn Ligon (b. 1960, New York, USA) lives and works New York. Since the 1980s, Ligon has pursued an incisive exploration of American history, literature, and society across bodies of work that build on modern and conceptual art. Solo exhibitions include Des Parisiens Noirs, Musée d’Orsay, France (2019); and Glenn Ligon: America, Whitney Museum of American Art (2011). Curatorial projects include Blue Black, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis (2017); and Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions, Nottingham Contemporary and Tate Liverpool (2015). Major international exhibitions include the Venice Biennale (2015 and 1997), Berlin Biennal (2014), Istanbul Biennial (2011), and Documenta XI (2002).     

EXHIBITED WORKS

A
Untitled (America), 2019
Mahya (light bulbs, paint and wire) on metal stands
Dimension variable
Courtesy Glenn Ligon.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Produced and presented with the support of VIA Art Fund.

Sketches for Untitled (America), 2019 (Kamil Kahraman Yıldız)
Mixed medium on paper
29 × 21 cm (each)
Courtesy Glenn Ligon.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Produced and presented with the support of VIA Art Fund.

B
James Baldwin: From Another Place, 1973
A Film by Sedat Pakay 16mm film transferred to digital video,
black-and-white 11’ 30”
Courtesy © Hudson Film Works II and sedatpakay.com
Remastering and subtitling produced and presented with the support of VIA Art Fund.

C
Untitled (29 Ekim 2023), 2019
Neon and paint
10.79 × 85.72 cm
Courtesy Glenn Ligon.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Produced and presented with the support of VIA Art Fund.

D
Untitled (31 Mart 2019), 2019
Neon and paint
10.79 × 85.72 cm
Courtesy Glenn Ligon.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Produced and presented with the support of VIA Art Fund.

E
Taksim (1), 2019
Single-channel HD video 40’
Music: Don Cherry, courtesy Neneh Cherry
Cinematography: Andrea Aversa
Courtesy Glenn Ligon.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Produced and presented with the support of VIA Art Fund.

F
Taksim (2), 2019
Single-channel HD video 42’28”
Music: Tyshawn Sorey
Cinematography: Michele Orlando
Courtesy Glenn Ligon.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Produced and presented with the support of VIA Art Fund.

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