Ergin Çavuşoğlu: Desire Lines (Tarot & Chess)

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Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Desire Lines (Tarot & Chess) (Trailer)2016, Single channel HD video, audio, 29:03 min. © Ergin Çavuşoğlu. Courtesy the artist, Extra City Kunsthal, Platform 0090 and FLACC. Produced with the additional support of SAHA, Istanbul.

21 December 2020 – 1 February 2021

What if our lives unfold and get reshuffled like the cards from a Tarot pack? How can we read their meaning?

Desire Lines (Tarot & Chess) (2016) takes inspiration from universal patterns of human behaviour observed in Italo Calvino’s book The Castle of Crossed Destinies (1973). Ergin Çavuşoğlu’s film opens on a group of mute travellers gathered in a castle, whose stories and destinies are recounted by a central figure, The Castle Keeper, as he reads an unfolding set of Marseille tarot cards. The interpretations of the cards allude to classic tales such as FaustOedipus, and Shakespearian narratives such as Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear, involving the central figures of The Knight, The Maiden and The Alchemist. After the protagonists have concluded the telling of their individual stories, they are challenged by the Castle Keeper to a game of chess, perhaps their last chance to alter their destinies.

“In Calvino’s book, [it’s] through the sequence of the pictures that stories are told, which the written word tries to reconstruct and interpret.’ In Desire Lines, the stories are told by sequences of moving images and fragmented speech.” (Ergin Çavuşoğlu)

Central to Ergin Çavuşoğlu’s practice are concepts and themes that probe the notions of place, liminality and the conditions of cultural production, which he has been exploring through a range of media, including video and sound installations, painting, sculpture and anamorphic drawings.

Çavuşoğlu studied at the National School of Fine Arts, Sofia, Marmara University (BA) Istanbul, Goldsmiths College (MA) London, and the University of Portsmouth (PHD). Çavuşoğlu co-represented Turkey at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. He was shortlisted for the Beck’s Futures Prize in 2004 and for Artes Mundi 4 in 2010. Recent solo exhibitions: Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp (2016), PEER, London (2010), Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen (2009), Kunstverein Freiburg (2008) and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2006), among others. Museum and biennial exhibitions include, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Milano (GAM) (2018), MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina (2018), The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moscow (2018), Es Baluard Museum of Modern Art, Palma (2017), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016), Istanbul Modern, Istanbul (2015), Manifesta 8, Murcia (2010), Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern (2009), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2008), the British Art Show 6 (2005), ICA, London (2004), the 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003) and the 3rd Berlin Biennial (2003). Çavuşoğlu lives and works in London.

Istanbul Modern, Turkey’s first museum of modern and contemporary art, has moved to its temporary space in Beyoğlu, where it hosts all exhibitions and events until its new building in Karaköy is completed. The museum’s temporary space, a historical building in Beyoğlu, houses the museum’s collection and temporary exhibition halls, photography gallery, educational and social programs, library, cinema, cafe, and store.

The Artists Film International 2020 programme responds to the theme of language. Local sounds, rituals and political realities feature, from the rhythms and images of a Bahamian Junkanoo to the contested ancestral lands on the desert border between Mexico and the USA.