In memoriam Fulya Erdemci (1962-2022)

During the Istanbul Biennial on 16 September 2022 a memorial service will take place in the Dutch Consulate in Turkey for Fulya Erdemci.

A tribute from SKOR in the Netherlands to Fulya Erdemci.

Astrid Schumacher, Tati Vereecken-Suwarganda and Fulya Erdemci

Very much to our regret we have heard that Fulya Erdemci, former director and our valued colleague of the Dutch Foundation for Art in the Public Domain, passed away after a short illness. For many years in Turkey Fulya was a driving force for the creation of art in public space. From 1994 to 2000 Fulya was the director of the Istanbul Biennale

Fulya regarded the public realm as a place for expression, dialogue and storytelling. In her practice she used public space as a place for both temporary and permanent installations that generated not only poetry but also, a strong political debate. In her view the public realm is a free place for free minds, where the invisible is seen, the repressed find room to breathe and the excluded are included in a diverse environment.

Her radical vision and commitment to public art also touched the board of the Dutch Foundation for Art in the Public Domain (Stichting Kunst Openbare Ruimte, SKOR). At our request, Fulya Erdemci was appointed director in 2008. She remained so until 2012.

What Fulya brought for SKOR is that the institution shifted from a condition-creating institution for artists, advising clients, to a more agenda-setting organization, regarding the meaning of the public space and the field in which SKOR worked. Her vision was also reflected in the symposium Actors, Agents and Attendants, which she put together in collaboration with an external editorial board (Markus Miessen/Andrea Phillips) and in close consultation with the curators/employees of SKOR. 

With her intelligence, her drive, she stimulated a movement in the Netherlands, wherein the public realm, through the transformative power of contemporary art, is embraced again as the heart of urban life. In a radical way she acknowledged the fragility of life and felt responsible for the next generation. In all her activities, Fulya’s strength lay in making connections and her eye for talent. She created space for people and encouraged everyone she worked with to develop themselves.

Fulya was a courageous and brave person. Through her work she planted the seeds for a more just society. We simply admired the way she spoke, the twinkling in her eyes, passionate, with such a broad perspective, using an inexhaustible source of literature, and always in connection with an international network of people she fully respected and loved.

At SKOR we had the honor to work with Fulya and we are extremely grateful that she added a new dimension to the approach of stimulating Public Art in the Netherlands.

On behalf of the former SKOR board and former employees

Adri Duivesteijn, Joep van Lieshout, Wouter van Stiphout, Josja van der Veer

Astrid Schumacher, Tati Vereecken-Suwarganda and Auke de Vries

The Hague, 2022-09-11

Joep van Lieshout and Fulya Erdemci in Istanbul

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