Now you see us now you don’t
Şimdi bizi görüyorsunuz şimdi görmüyorsunuz
Now you see us now you don’t is a permanent neon sign installation by Annika Eriksson, placed on the back entrance of the 5th block at IMÇ (Istanbul Manifaturacılar Çarşısı) - the iconic modernist shopping center in Istanbul designed during the city’s urban modernisation period in the late 1950’s.
The purely Functionalist building, conceived as a “modern utopia”, was built incorporating the traditional bazaar structure into an experimental modern system with large corridors surrounding the open-air atrium located at the center of each block. IMÇ was built divided into six blocks according to different industries including: garment textiles, interior decoration textiles, sewing machines and music.
Like a ghost from the future, Now you see us now you don’t blinks from the concrete exterior wall of the 5th block as a promise and a threat hinting at its precarious state. In the last decade, justified as a policy to protect the historic peninsula of Istanbul, the municipality has tried but failed to pass a proposal to build Ottoman villas by demolishing IMÇ. Located in an ideal spot, a bridge apart from central neighbourhoods, an enforced relocation is inevitable and only a matter of time for İMÇ. When the day comes, the sign will continue its lifespan alongside it and disappear in the rubble of the building.
Eriksson sets up a spatial situation and distorts notions of time with Now you see us now you don’t. She inscribes an ambiguous text referring to the building’s present state of temporal ambiguity. Alluding to its possible demise, the text acts as a subversive resistance from a frontier between construction and destruction, then and now, also bringing forth the erasure of personal and socio-cultural histories tied to public structures of this scale.
Annika Eriksson is a Swedish artist living in Berlin. Over the years, Eriksson has produced a large number of works in which the perception of time, structures of power, and once acclaimed social visions are called into question. Strategically Eriksson plays with the heated debates around the public realm and structures that regulate it, revealing the urban changes and how this is subject to unexpected political appropriations and inversions.
Selected recent exhibitions include: 13th Istanbul Biennial; I am the dog that was always here (loop), KIOSK, Ghent, 2013; Critical Mass, St Petersburg, 2013; When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, Wattis Institute, San Francisco, 2012; The Trilogy, Kunstlerhaus Stuttgart, 2012; The Great Good Place, Krome Gallery, 2012; The Shanghai Biennale/City Pavilion Istanbul, 2012;The Best of Times, The Worst of Times; Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art, Kiev Biennale, 2012; Non Gallery, Istanbul, 2011; Wir sind wieder da, DAAD Galerie, Berlin, 2011; A Rehearsal/Fable of the Bees commission for Flat Time House, London 2012 and for NON Stage, Istanbul 2011.
Curated by Filiz Avunduk