A Question of Taste

February 23 - August 8, 2021

A Question of Taste is a group exhibition that deals with kitsch, a concept whose meaning has shifted since the 19th century, and the intimate relationship this concept has established with today's visual culture as well as its critical role in shaping taste.

The word kitsch, which has been used to describe cheap and popular paintings or sketches in post-industrial Germany, gradually transformed into a complex concept that found its place in various languages, untranslated. In this era when diversity, ambiguity, and ineffability are sanctified, can kitsch be a tool to carry these values forward? Could thinking about avant-garde and kitsch side-by-side rather than in opposition — by looking closely at contemporary art's relations with the collective aspects of mass culture, rather than considering mass culture as unsubstantial, banal and inferior, and trying to explore the ties between them — agitate the existing structure of class society? Is it possible to define taste as something other than an indicator of class?

Taste may still be an indication of class today, but the structure of the mechanisms that feed and strengthen this signal has now become different. A Question of Taste brings together works of thirteen artists and collectives and focuses on the concept of taste as a class indicator; looks at the sense of aesthetics, and its values ascribed to the East and the West. Focusing on the rise of mass culture against high art, it aims to explore the rich uses of the concept of kitsch in dialogue with the artists, and based on the relationship between art and visual culture that has been shaped in the process of transition from material culture to digital culture. It questions the concept of taste, which reinforces the separation of classes within the societal structure, through both objects, and the visual language that has dominated the Internet since the early 90s.

Curated by Ulya Soley, the exhibition features the artists Alex Da Corte & Jayson Musson, Bruno Miguel, Cameron Askin, FAILE, Farah Al Qasimi, Gülsün Karamustafa, Hayırlı Evlat, Miao Ying, Nick Cave, Olia Lialina & Mike Tyka, Pierre et Gilles, Slavs and Tatars and Volkan Aslan.

Images

Nick Cave
Drive-by, 2011
Video, 10’05’’
© The artist, Jack Shainman Gallery

Farah Al Qasimi
It’s Not Easy Being Seen 7, 2016 
Archival inkjet print, 120 x 96 cm 
© The artist, The Third Line 

Alex Da Corte
In collaboration with Jayson Musson
Easternsports, 2014
Soundtrack: Devonté Hynes
four-channel video, 146’
Tile, carpet, neon, metal chairs, artificial oranges, diffusers, orange essential oil
© The artist, Sadie Coles and Salon94

Pierre et Gilles
Flowers and Tears (Lolly Wish), 2016
Inkjet photograph printed on canvas and painted, 174 x 126 cm
© The artist, Galerie Templon

Olia Lialina
In collaboration with Mike Tyka
*Treasure Trove*, 2017
HTML, JS, GIFs
© The artist

Gülsün Karamustafa
Watermelon, 1986
Textile, found object, 100 x 143 cm
© The artist, Büro Sarıgedik

Volkan Aslan
Nice to See You, 2021
Installation with porcelain figures produced by the artist, and Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics Collection
© The artist
Commissioned for the exhibition A Question of Taste.

3D Virtual Tour

Exhibition Catalogue

A Question of Taste

A Question of Taste

The catalogue accompanying the exhibition features the curatorial text of Ulya Soley, which focuses on the concept of taste as a class indicator; looks at the sense of aesthetics, and its values ascribed to the East and the West; the rise of mass culture against high art, exploring the rich uses of the concept of kitsch in dialogue with the artists, and based on the relationship between art and visual culture that has been shaped in the process of transition from material culture to digital culture.

Getting to Know Hayırlı Evlat

Getting to Know Hayırlı Evlat

A Question of Taste exhibition brings together works of thirteen artists and collectives and deals with the concept of kitsch, and the intimate relationship this concept has established with today's visual culture as well as its critical role in shaping taste.

Stage of Plastic Dreams <br> A Question of Taste Opening Party

Stage of Plastic Dreams
A Question of Taste Opening Party

Pera Museum presents virtual event series “Stage of Plastic Dreams” in collaboration with HYPERCORTEX and with the support of the British Council. Organized in parallel to the A Question of Taste exhibition, the “Stage of Plastic Dreams” event series brings musicians and visual artists together in a virtual event space open to participants.

Digital Feelings

A Question of Taste deals with kitsch, a concept whose meaning has shifted since the 19th century, and the intimate relationship this concept has established with today's visual culture as well as its critical role in shaping taste.


Pera Learning

Different Tastes for Different Folks

Pera Museum Learning Programs organizes Different Tastes for Different Folks in parallel to the exhibition A Question of Taste. The program offers different age groups fun and various discoveries through online workshops and tours.

Online Summer Workshops

With inspiration from “A Question of Taste” and “Etel Adnan: Impossible Homecoming” exhibitions, Pera Museum Learning Programs hosts art and science workshops, inquiry-based philosophy workshops, and online exhibition tours with material kits to be posted to the addresses of 7-12 aged participants. 

Girl in a Blue Dress

Girl in a Blue Dress

This life-size portrait of a girl is a fine example of the British art of portrait painting in the early 18th century. The child is shown posing on a terrace, which is enclosed at the right foreground by the plinth of a pillar; the background is mainly filled with trees and shrubs. 

Midnight Stories: Hotel of Retro Dreams <br> Doğu Yücel

Midnight Stories: Hotel of Retro Dreams
Doğu Yücel

He didn’t expect this from me. And I hadn’t expected that we would decide to get married that day, at that moment. Everything happened all of a sudden, but exactly like it was supposed to happen in our day. We thought of the idea of marriage simultaneously, we smiled simultaneously, blinking and opening our eyes in unison. 

Medicinal Herbs in Byzantium

Medicinal Herbs in Byzantium

Knowledge of plants and the practice of healing are closely entwined. The toxic or hallucinogenic nature of some roots, and the dangers associated with picking them, conferred a mythical or magical character and power.