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1962, Bamberg. Lives in Berlin.

Maria Eichhorn’s contribution to the 4th İstanbul Biennial in 1995, was a billboard erected in Taksim Square for the opening days of the exhibition. The project began with Eichhorn inviting left-wing organisations, sub-culture groups and other initiatives in Istanbul to design posters that could then be pasted prominently in one of the main public spaces in the city. The results were a diverse range of political posters, calls for action and other announcements of activities that people could attend. Eichhorn installed her billboard project with the permission of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, but this did not stop two other city authorities – the Municipality of Beyoğlu and the Incomes Department – from removing the artwork from the square. Each time, the piece was reinstalled as it was, but only after the intervention of Esra Nilgün Mirze, Director of Corporate Communications, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. This history of this work in the 4th Biennial survives only through verbal anecdotes and an amateur film taken at time.
Billboard İstanbul Biennial 1995, presents this filmed footage of Eichhorn’s original billboard project together with an interview with Maria Eichhorn and Esra Nilgün Mirze about the story of the work. In addition, Aykut Istanbullu, Eichhorn’s assistant at that time, looks back at the social and political context of Turkey in the mid 1990s. As is typical of Eichhorn’s practice, she has used one work to generate another, her interaction with the art system giving impetus to another work wherein she reflects on the structure of the art world and the city’s bureaucracies.

Charles Esche


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