Gülsün Karamustafa’s work "Mystic Transport" was displayed for the first time in 1992 at the 3rd International Istanbul Biennial. This work, which consists of twenty wheeled metal baskets containing quilts and can be moved by visitors, is related to the concepts of migration, identity, and belonging, themes at the centre of the artist's practice. These metal containers are reminiscent both of porters’ baskets and shopping carts. The colourful satin quilts inside them are favoured dowry items that can be spread over beds and mattresses or hidden away in chests. Even though they evoke a sense of privacy, they present a social landscape of Turkey from the 1960s to the present. Configured in multiple ways by the actions of the visitors who move the baskets, "Mystic Transport" interrogates the visual codes of “foreign” culture marked as kitsch or crude, with its brightly-coloured quilts, as well as the visual codes of the informal and cheap laborers that come from outside the city. The work was installed on Arter’s terrace as part of the exhibition "What Time Is It?" (2019) during the inauguration of Arter’s new building. The placement of the installation on the terrace also brings Dolapdere, where Arter’s new building is located, into relation with the work. Dolapdere has frequently been used as an intermediate stop or a springboard for migrants during the 1960s and 1990s, when domestic migration to the city accelerated. A similar situation has been pertinent in the 2000s for those who migrate from abroad. Though the conditions and timings of migration change, "Mystic Transport" continues moving on its wheels, burdened with the pressing issues of timelessness, displacement, and nomadism.
"What Time Is It?", exhibition view, Arter, 2019.