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1966, Jerusalem. Lives in Vienna.

Blum’s project is the product of a long period of research. This work in one of the Deniz Palas apartments is a reconstruction of the home of Safiye Behar, originally located on Hamalbasi Cad. Blum introduces us to Behar, her life in İstanbul and Chicago and the people with whom she lived and worked.
The project is called A tribute to Safiye Behar and is the first time this important Marxist and feminist has been recognised in Turkey. The apartment becomes a museum to another kind of history, one that seems to tell a different story to the familiar facts surrounding the establishment of the Turkish Republic and subsequent history.
Blum opens the doors of Safiye Behar’s house, with the following questions: ‘Can oral history, when passed from one generation to the next but never written or recorded, mean that reality is forgotten? Or does it undermine the known reality and open up other possible interpretations? Maybe the stories are unreliable in themselves, as verbal anecdotes within a closed circle of people, could they be exaggerated or entirely made up? After all, how would a Jewish feminist Marxist living in İstanbul in the early 1900s have an effect on the history of Turkey?’
Blum created the apartment using original diaries, photographs, furniture and documents from the Melik Tütüncü collection. Its presentation suggests analogies with similar museum houses such as Trotsky’s in Mexico City, Freud’s in Vienna or Marx’s in Trier.
Ultimately, the ‘historical construction’ that Blum offers gives the illusion that Safiye Behar’s house is a real museum, rather than an artwork created for this exhibition. It is the uncertainty between these two modes of presentation that allows the work to take flight in our imagination.

Esra Sarıgedik Öktem


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