Prison for Minor Offenses

12/11/2014 - 10/01/2015

Created for the 5th Sinop Biennial (Sinopale), this work takes its inspiration from the historical Sinop Prison, now a museum, where many authors, artists and journalists were incarcerated.

In his work, Yıldırım focuses especially on the topics of crime, criminals and victims; and with this interactive and performative work, he invites his audience to think about impunity. Consisting of a prison for one person with iron bars and a padlock, Prison for Minor Offenses is shown around the streets of Sinop on a cart and put to the use of the public. Minor offenses such as lying, breaking a heart and talking behind someone’s back get the durations of their sentence decided by the convicts themselves. People who wish to do so, can write about their crimes in the little notebook inside the small prison to feel relief. In this way, the Prison for Minor Offenses becomes a remedy for issues like insomnia, chagrin and premature ageing.

Underlining the risk of impunity –which is accepted as bad in state traditions as well as in a single person’s little life, turning into a habit, the artist suggests that suffering a punishment may not be such a negative thing when used properly.

The work removes its audience from a passive state and “activates” it, and gives it an opportunity to think about the notion of suffering a punishment. Prison for Minor Offenses can be visited from November 12 through January 10 at Galeri Zilberman’s project space on Mısır Apartmanı’s 2nd floor; petty crimes can be disposed of here in this small prison.

Eşref Yıldırım (b.1978, Bursa) completed his postgraduate studies at Mimar Sinan University’s Painting Department. Opened his solo exhibitions Salute! and Nobody’s Death at Galeri Zilberman in 2012 and 2014 respectively. In addition to Sinopale 2014, his work was featured at Figure Out, Dubai, UAE (2012); In Between, Antoni Muntadas Exhibition, 2010 European Capital of Culture, Istanbul (2010); Borders and Orbits 6, Siemens Art Gallery, Turkey (2009). He also has works that now belong to many private collections. Yıldırım lives and works in Istanbul.


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  - Eşref Yıldırım

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