Kunstverein in Hamburg, 27.01.–14.04.24

The 90s Onstage

Still from Performance Köm-ür choreographed by Aydın Teker, as part of Seretonin II

The 1990s mark a period of political and economic instability in Turkey, with eleven coalition governments in ten years, the 1994 currency crisis and the “austerity policies” that follow, as well as an increasing number of unsolved case files and political scandals, which hit the country hard. Even so, the struggle for civil rights that would thrive in the 2000s begins in the 1990s. Pop culture enjoys an unprecedented rise with the help of private television and music channels opening one after the other. Election campaigns begin to use Turkish pop hits that fill the streets and public squares. After the burden of the 1980 Turkish coup on September 12, 1980 dissipates and with the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Turkey settles on a new line of cultural and economic circulation. This results in a period of dynamism where freedom constantly expands in the fields of culture, art, performance, and entertainment. The 1990s is also a time when the “interdisciplinary” comes to the fore in Turkey’s art scene. The medium of performance in particular offers artists looking for contemporary forms of expression an escape from the boundaries of defined discipline(s). The performances in The 90s Onstage are characterised by their experimental and immediate nature. The relationship between stage and performance, is one of mutual dependence. As the concept of the stage changes, opening towards social realities, the concept of performance expands into new media and changes the idea of art itself. By making its way into a variety of television programmes, 900-hotlines, and phone fraud cases, performance infiltrates both streets and living rooms.

The 90s Onstage uses the notion of performance as a key point of inquiry, opening multiple avenues of critical interpretation. It assembles an archive of materials related to the events that document performances as well as exhibitions. Featuring a variety of media ranging from live performances to video clips and TV programmes, the exhibition spans the years from 1988 to 1999 and extends into the early 2000s. It traces the intersection of a diverse range of performances that gained an increasing visibility in public parks, bars, historical landmarks, and abandoned sites, exploring unexpected connections that contribute to a broader understanding of the stage. In this context, the stage becomes an interface for negotiating reality and gives form to fleeting and permanent communities. Examining the practice of performance in relation to society, economy, public spaces and politics, The 90s Onstage presents a cross section of cultural history while addressing collective initiatives of the decade. Organised in cooperation with Salt, The 90s Onstage at Kunstverein in Hamburg is programmed by Amira Akbıyıkoğlu, with researcher Mine Söyler and designer Emirhan Altuner. This exhibition is an iteration of the project that took place at Salt Beyoğlu and Galata in Istanbul from September 15, 2022 to April 2, 2023, as part of L’Internationale’s “Our Many Europes” programme.


Kunstverein in Hamburg

Kunstverein in Hamburg. Photo: Fred Dott
Opening Hours:
Tue - Fr 12 - 18 pm Sa - Su 11 - 18 pm Mo closed
Klosterwall 23, 20095 Hamburg