All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is never full (still), 2017

Onur Gökmen
All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is never full (still), 2017
3 minutes 32 seconds (loop)
Courtesy of the artist


Taking place in various locations across Istanbul, BAHAR [Spring] is the second of four off-site projects centred around Sharjah Biennial 13: Tamawuj (SB13). SB13 curator Christine Tohme has invited Zeynep Öz to be the interlocutor who researches and dialogues with the keyword ‘crops’. Öz has conceived and organised a programme of commissioned works and performances to be presented from 13 May to 10 June 2017, which will open with Hıdırellez themed festival, a celebration of the arrival of spring and revival of nature in Turkey.

Öz’s intervention follows the life cycle of seeds, exploring questions of dormancy and latency as well as states of pauses in our lives and sleep, and connects this cycle to a wider examination of the psychological, institutional and cultural. Seed dormancy – when seeds remain inert due to unsuitable germination conditions – is defined as arrested growth, a temporary halt, a state of rest and a period of waiting. A vital mechanism for enhancing the probability of survival, dormancy ensures the temporal (and spatial) dispersal of seeds as they wait for their turn to awake. Inspired by the crucial significance of timing in the processes of seed dormancy, BAHAR explores the suspension of activity and the different stages and implications of sleep. The question of whether seeds will remain dormant or people inactive, or whether a source of energy will spur growth or awaken the development process is critical.


Designed to elicit issues, ideas and discussions around the keyword ‘crops’ prior to the project launch in May, two preliminary weekend programmes related to planting seeds took place at SALT Galata in Istanbul between 23 and 25 March and 5 and 7 April. Considering issues of latency, the programmes presented talks by Matthew Gumpert, Bella Habip, Aslı Niyazioğlu, Özgür Öğütcen and Işıl Baysan Serim together with a series of film screenings curated by Fol, Canan Balan (in collaboration with Silent Cinema Days) and Çiçek Kahraman & Övgü Gökçe.

The BAHAR exhibition (13 May—10 June, Abud Efendi Mansion, Sultanahmet) features commissioned works by artists Sena Başöz, Aslıhan Demirtaş, Merve Ertufan, Alev Ersan, Fatma Belkıs, Bengi Güldoğan, Pınar Öğrenci, Ali Taptık, Deniz Tortum and Ülgen Semerci & Burcu Yağcıoğlu alongside existing works by Bryony Dunne, Onur Gökmen, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, João Modé and Olivia Plender.

Also on view are special projects from Ayça İnce (Ek Biç Ye İç) & Begüm Atakan, the curatorial collective Das Art Project, torna (with folio) and artist collective Signs of Time. The opening week programme from 13—16 May in various locations will also include the launch of a publication by Kerim Bayer and one featuring an interview with Zeki Alasya and a range of performances by Onur Karaoğlu*, biriken*, Doa Aly and A Corner in the World.               
* Please note that each performance has a limited capacity. Register by May 10, 2017 at

To download the full programme please click here.

About Sharjah Biennial 13

Sharjah Biennial 13: Tamawuj is on view at SAF through 10 June. Curated by Christine Tohme, Tamawuj includes off-site projects organised by four interlocutors, who will each engage with the biennial’s key words. In addition to the Istanbul programme related to crops (13 May) led by curator Zeynep Öz, Kader Attia has launched the first off-site project around water in Dakar; curator Lara Khaldi addresses the subject of earth in Ramallah (10 August) and Ashkal Alwan organises a project around the culinary in Beirut (October). Act II of Tamawuj will also open in Beirut in October 2017. These projects compliment SB13 School, a yearlong education programme in Sharjah already underway, and the online publishing platform

For more information about Sharjah Biennial 13 please click here.