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Bakunin's Barricade: Ahmet Öğüt

July 14 - December 23, 2022
In Ellen Johnson Gallery

Bakunin's Barricade: Ahmet Öğüt

July 14 - December 23, 2022
In Ellen Johnson Gallery

Virtual Tour

As Prussian troops prepared to crush the 1849 socialist uprising in Dresden, anarchist Mikhail Bakunin proposed that paintings from the National Museum be placed in front of the barricades, reasoning that Prussian soldiers wouldn’t dare destroy the works to breach their defenses. Inspired by Bakunin’s never-realized proposal, artist Ahmet Öğüt has created site-specific “barricades” featuring works from museum collections in Dresden, Cologne, Amsterdam, and other venues.

This summer, Bakunin’s Barricade is on view for the first time outside of Europe as part of the FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. The Allen Memorial Art Museum hosts the installation, which questions the function of art in times of social and political change. While speculating how far museums really would go to advance social justice, Bakunin’s Barricade offers a fulcrum point against the backdrop of recent global conflicts.

Born in Turkey in 1981, Öğüt’s artistic practice includes video, photography, and installation. After studying fine arts at Hacettepe University in Ankara, he earned a master’s degree in art and design at Yildiz Teknik University in Istanbul. As a sociocultural initiator, artist, and lecturer, Öğüt often uses humor and small gestures to comment on serious social issues. He has exhibited widely, with recent solo shows at Kunstverein Dresden and Kunsthal Charlottenburg, and group shows in the 2021 Asia Society Triennial, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Seoul Museum of Art. Öğüt represented Turkey at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.

Launched in 2018, FRONT International comprises a series of contemporary art exhibitions across Northeast Ohio, with artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs. This second iteration, Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows, builds on the successes of the first to stimulate new and sustained cultural conversations within the region.

Organized by

FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

With assistance from

Andria Derstine

John G.W. Cowles Director

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