Galeri Manâ, Istanbul: Selections from Contraband and An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar

Taryn Simon, Exploding Warhead, Test Area C-80C, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 2007. Copyright Taryn Simon. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

Taryn Simon: Selections From
Contraband and An American
Index of The Hidden and Unfamiliar

18 May–30 June 2012
Opening: 18 May 2012, 17–20

Galeri Manâ is pleased to announce Selections from Contraband and An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, Taryn Simon's first solo exhibition in Istanbul between the dates 18 May to 30 June 2012. A selection of works from the artist's series Contraband and An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar will be on display.

Taryn Simon is renowned internationally for her conceptual reach in photography that steps beyond simple categorizations such as documentary, conceptualism or portraiture. Considered to be one of the forerunners of a new language in photography, Simon structurally incorporates texts and photographic elements in her works. She has been exhibited at London's Tate Modern and will be opening another solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York this May.

A selection from An American Index of The Hidden and Unfamiliar is displayed at the ground floor of Galeri Manâ. By capturing hidden and inaccessible spaces such as the CIA headquarters, an Avian Quarantine Facility, and a Forensic Anthropology Center, Simon reveals unfamiliar and uncanny aspects of the present day American culture and confronts the divide between expert and public access.

Simon documents hidden spaces from a variety of domains such as Science, Medicine, Security, Government, Religion, and Entertainment where only a few privileged expert eyes have access. A part of this series, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Contraband Room, which has given rise to the Contraband series, is also displayed at the exhibition.

A selection of Simon's Contraband series is on view at the first floor of Galeri Manâ. Contraband is an archive of global desires and perceived threats, presenting 1,075 images of items that were detained or seized from entering the United States from abroad. Captured by Simon during five days at JFK International Airport, which possesses more international passengers than any other airport in the US, some of these items are rather familiar, such as knockoff handbags, drugs, and Cuban cigars; while others are quite unexpected, such as various animal specimens, eggshells, and dog treats.

The exhaustive pace at which Simon photographed paralleled the twenty-four hour rhythm by which goods move across borders and time zones. Contraband thus reveals a comprehensive profile of international commerce, exposing the desires and demands that drive the international economy as well as the local economies that produce them. The artist photographed each item against a neutral grey background, producing an 'objective' scientific record, devoid of context. Removed from the individual passenger's belongings, each item loses its distinguishing personal associations and is transformed into an artifact of the larger global network. In this sense, 'contraband' also relates to the concept of danger, raising questions about what is officially considered to be a threat to authority and security in contemporary society.

A fully illustrated catalogue featuring Hans Ulrich Obrist's text on Contraband will be accompanying the exhibition.

Born in New York in 1975, Taryn Simon is one of the rising talents of the current international photography scene. Her work is included in prestigious collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum; Getty Museum; Tate Modern; and Centre Pompidou, and beside the 54th Venice Biennial and Gagosian Gallery, has been exhibited at museums such as Tate Modern, London and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Her latest work, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, is currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

This exhibition is produced in association with Gagosian Gallery. Taryn Simon is represented by Gagosian Gallery.

Galeri Manâ
Kemankes Mah.
Alipasa Degirmen Sok.
No: 16 34425 Beyoglu
Istanbul, Turkey
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 11–18

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