ASLI SERBEST &
The House Alice Bulit
14.12.2018 – 26.01.2019
T. Melih Görgün
The exhibition brings the “Female Futures” section of the project “50 Years after 50 Years of the Bauhaus, 1968” to Istanbul.
Starting from their contribution to “50 Years after 50 Years of the Bauhaus 1968” at the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, the artists and architects Asli Serbest and Mona Mahall show their speculative research on feminist spatial utopias —in reflection of modernism and the Bauhaus culture.
In a short text from 1931, Walter Benjamin describes the destructive character: It “knows only one watchword: make room. And only one activity: clearing away.” The destructive character passes on situations by liquidating them. In need for fresh air and open space, it obtains complete reduction, deletes the traces of its age and roots out of its own condition —it stands for a modernist ideology and the Bauhaus program. The destructive character, as Benjamin maintains, allows for a new beginning. The zero point (tabula rasa) enabled the Bauhaus to start anew, to produce neutral, ultimately cleared spaces. Modernism has long been questioned for its destructive character, for those utopian aspirations of the tabula rasa attributed to men and regarded as bound up with paternalistic, colonial, and totalitarian attitudes. Other modernities, especially alternative approaches to total reduction and the tabula
rasa constitute the topic of the research based work The House Alice Built. Asli Serbest and Mona Mahall explore utopian projects that, informed by feminist theories and practices, have reimagined modern (domestic) space. Through videos, models, drawings, images, and texts, this iteration of Female Futures collects and develops speculations on houses and scenes that subtract from a given set of rooms, actors, and functions, without destroying it completely: these speculations remove the kitchen from the apartment (The House Alice Built), Romeo from Romeo and Juliet, and eliminate the separation between private and public. As counterdrafts to modernism’s maximum projects, they formulate concepts of minimum or minor operations that however allow for new spatial connections and relations.
In that they provide the ground on which we can evolve possible open, material, social, ecological, and aesthetic forms of living together equally.