BAKU (Artnetnews) — Turkish artist Ahmet Ögüt has withdrawn a solo exhibition of his work from the Yarat Contemporary Art Space in Baku, Azerbaijan, after the museum tied it in social media posts to the ongoing war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Earlier this month, Yarat published a photo of its facade on Instagram and Facebook in which the sign advertising the artist’s exhibition, “No Poem Loves Its Poet,” was paired with a matching banner that read: “Everything for the homeland! Karabakh is Azerbaijan.”
“I have become aware that the banner of my exhibition is being used as a propaganda tool in social media along with politically motivated statements that have nothing to do with my independent vision or the content of my exhibition,” Ögüt wrote in a public letter shared Wednesday.
“As the institution has regrettably rejected my requests to take down the exhibition banner with my name appearing next to the Azerbaijani national flag on the facade of its building, and the photo thereof on its social media sites, I have no other option but to demand the immediate closure of my exhibition,” said the artist, who was born in Turkey and works between Amsterdam and Berlin. “I refuse to allow my work to fall prey to political instrumentalization.”
Soon after the Ögüt sent out his statement on October 28, Yarat changed the exhibition details on its website to say that the show was over, the artist Tells Artnet News over email. His works were removed from view that same day, but they remain on the premises.
Ahmet Ögüt (born 1981 in Diyarbakir, Turkey) is a conceptual artist living and working in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He works with a broad range of media including video, photography, installation, drawing and printed media. In 2009 he represented Turkey in the Pavilion of Turkey at the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennial.
Ahmet Ögüt has colaborated with Nina Katchadourian on a project titled “Blind Dates: New Encounters from the Edges of a Former Empire” that promotes cultural exchange and public diplomacy.