Today, graffiti and street art have moved out of underground culture and are no longer viewed as vandalism, but rather as a global art movement. Since the 1990s, appreciation of graffiti and street art in Turkey has increased significantly, having influenced not only a small artistic circle, but several generations. In the exhibition “Language of the Wall: Graffiti / Street Art”, this art form was presented in a museum setting for the first time.
African and Hispanic minority groups in New York needed to define their place in society and to express their existence at a time when the American Dream was being questioned due to the economic and political changes of the 1970s. Soon, simple signatures attained calligraphic value, style, and color; tags began to appear in larger and more impressive shapes, more often and in more hard-to-reach places. Visible and memorable graffiti received more respect. As graffiti artists, striving to be original, advanced their style, they pushed the limits of calligraphy.
As artists create international value through their increasingly diversified works of different style and techniques, the street art movement evolves from being an individual struggle for existence and addresses larger masses by embracing social issues. Expanding its audience through the subculture created through music and dance, graffiti and street art are not just artistic forms of expression, but also manifest a certain way of living.
With its selection of international and local artists, alongside a framework incorporating a historical perspective, the exhibition explored the current dynamics, different styles, and aesthetic notions of the street, addressing the movement alongside other disciplines such as photography and music. Instead of confining the artists within the walls of a museum, the exhibition also allowed them to use the streets of Istanbul, not only to spread their works across a larger space, but also to debate the concepts of “inside” and “outside.”
In this online version, explore hi-res images of the artworks, watch interviews with some of the artists, and follow them as they create their works on the Museum's walls.
Curator — Roxane Ayral
Project Managers — Fatma Çolakoğlu, Tania Bahar, Begüm Akkoyunlu Ersöz
Project Assistants — Ulya Soley, Alanur Ataç
Digital Media & Adaptation — Bihter Ayla Serttürk
Spray Cans Sponsor — Montana Cans
Gallery Wall Paint Sponsor — Jotun