Museum Program
13 September 2022 – 30 October 2023

Agnes Denes. The Living Pyramid

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Agnes Denes. The Living Pyramid

MANIFESTO

Agnes Denes: Her Life and Work

Between September 13, 2022 - October 30, 2023, the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum will host The Living Pyramid by Agnes Denes, a pioneer of ecological art. The exhibition takes place with the main sponsorship of Sabancı Holding, and all communications sponsorship by Çimsa. Along with the The Living Pyramid portraying our relationship with nature as a metaphor for our existence in the world, Agnes Denes' Manifesto, written in 1969, will also be displayed in the SSM garden. 
 
The Living Pyramid is a site-specific work, first constructed in 2015 at the Socrates Sculpture Park in New York and later at the Nordstadtpark in Kassel as part of documenta 14 in 2017. It can also be thought of as a living sculpture, with a natural life cycle. The pyramid was planted, in part, by volunteer participants on September 10-11, and it will grow and change shape as thousands of seeds turn into grasses and flowers. Denes' Manifesto, carved onto a marble slab and produced especially for this exhibition, takes its place as a permanent addition to the collection and garden.

Made of wooden stepped terraces filled with four tons of earth, the pyramid arcs nine meters into the sky. Planted into its terraces are two thousand plants and flowers belonging to approximately six hundred species, selected in collaboration with the artist from the urban flora of Istanbul, their positions on the pyramid determined by the amount of sun and shade falling on each façade. The pyramid will evolve throughout its public exhibition: the plants will sprout and bloom, some will go to seed, some will die. For Denes, this process is evidence of the organic development of nature as it interacts with the pyramid, one of the most iconic forms of human civilization. Her statement, "While the pyramids are based on mathematics and thus achieve a kind of perfection, they contain all the imperfections they are dealing with or are representing and visualizing," provides some insight into why she chooses to explore the relationship between humans and nature through the living pyramid. Denes, who has been using the pyramid form as a metaphor in different media from drawing to sculpture for nearly half a century, also uses the form to question the social hierarchies inherent in our perception of the world.

Agnes Denes's The Living Pyramid will be activated through accompanying educational programs, promoting environmental awareness, conservation, and sustainability. In this sense, it is not only a work made up of grasses and flowers, but also of the community that came together to plant them – a public art project, in a sense. It can also be regarded as a social structure that cultivates a micro-society of people responsible for its construction, planting, and ongoing care. As with all her works, Denes aims to create a sense of ethical responsibility towards protecting our local and global environments, through the participatory nature of the pyramid. After the exhibition, the Sakıp Sabancı Museum will continue to embrace Denes’s approach, inviting visitors to adopt the plants. Though the pyramid will disintegrate when members of the community share it among themselves, it will continue to grow and prosper as small parts of the formerly monumental form. Denes’s Manifesto, on the other hand, will live on in the garden as a reminder of The Living Pyramid, and the micro-community that came together to create it.

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Agnes Denes. The Living Pyramid[;]Agnes Denes. Yaşayan Piramit
Agnes Denes. The Living Pyramid[;]Agnes Denes. Yaşayan Piramit
Agnes Denes. The Living Pyramid[;]Agnes Denes. Yaşayan Piramit

Museum Program

Sanat Yapıtlarının Hayatiyeti: Çardakkuşları, Bitki Piramitleri ve Mikroçipler

21 Aralık 2022

Sanat Yapıtlarının Hayatiyeti: Çardakkuşları, Bitki Piramitleri ve Mikroçipler

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Agnes Denes / Living Pyramid
Agnes Denes / Living Pyramid
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