Rice and Discussion Place: Sarkis
Sarkis, Rice and Discussion Place, 1995 || ARTER Collection || Courtesy of the artist
In 1994, a conceptual artist Sarkis, one of the pioneering figures in Turkeyʼs conceptual art scene, came across a 19th century Ottoman caldron in Çukurcuma, Istanbul, which sparked an idea for an exhibition. At the 4th International Istanbul Biennial in 1995, art lovers came across his installation Rice and Discussion Place , comprising a caldron filled with chickpea rice, a neon chandelier that read ‘Rice and Discussion Place’ and a circular seating arrangement around the caldron for further discussion. The work came to be a meeting point, as well as a melting pot for the exhibition: It offered a place of discussion for both artists and visitors while they enjoyed some food. The main idea for the installation was to underline the ritualistic aspects of food preparation, regardless of differences in social power and status that affect the preparation processes and the ingredients. Choosing a modest, traditional Anatolian dish for his work, Sarkis not only highlighted the symbiotic relationship in the art scene where the institution, artist, and audience are all involved but also evoked a sense of hospitality and feast.