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1957, İstanbul. Lives in İstanbul.

Alptekin’s obsession with the quadriga of horses on the façade of  San Marco in Venice was the inspiration for this project. The horses were originally made in İstanbul and displayed on the Hippodrome in Sultanahmet until the Crusaders stole them in 1204. In 2003, Alptekin
began his own quest for the magic and reality of these strange and awkward sculptures. Initially, he sought to bring back the horses permanently but as the story developed he became as interested in the whole iconography and meaning of equestrian sculptures. He began to document public monuments with horses around Europe, thinking about the form of the horse, its rider, their situation in the city and the way these materialised the power of emperors, kings and heroes. Next to them, the riderless quadriga seemed to embody another idea.
Ultimately, the artist was able to borrow copies from Venice for the duration of the exhibition. In parallel with their first reappearance in İstanbul for over 800 years, the work becomes a meditation on the history of public art, heroes and leaders, and the possible meanings that such works could have for us now. Different elements from a vast archive of research material are displayed in Platform, organised by Alptekin according to his own systems of visual narrative. For instance, the quadriga is reproduced on Ottoman influenced tiles, bringing two different public art forms together, while the videos signal the long shadow of influence that the horses have had since their origins in Byzantium.

Charles Esche


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