The Turkish artist Hale Tenger is participating in the 57th International Art Exhibition-La Bienale di Venezia. Curated by Christine Macel, the exhibition Viva Arte Viva will be on view until November 26 of this year. Tenger’s 7-channel video installation “Balloons on the Sea” (2011) with music by Serdar Ateşer, will be showcased in the Arsenale.

Turkish artist Hale Tenger is showing “Balloons on the Sea”, a 7 channel video installation at the Venice Biennale this year. This art work was previously shown in Dubai’s Green Art Gallery and İstanbul Modern Museum, derives inspiration from a popular game played in the coastal areas of Turkey where passersbys try to shoot balloons tied together and laid on the sea. Starting out from this local pastime and using it as a metaphor, Tenger comments subtly on the ephemeral nature of life, political oppressions and resilience.

In the central part of the installation, Tenger reverses the floating image of tied balloons on the sea and fabricates an ambiguity where tension between reality and reflection become apparent. Greeted by this serenely moving image, the viewer crosses to the other side of the space where individual balloons of different colors burst at random only to reappear and get blown back again. Although there is no shooting apparent in the video, the music adds tension to these scenes where balloons appear in a ghostly manner.

Similar to some of Tenger’s earlier work, “Balloons on the Sea” bears a dreamlike aspect and pulls the viewer in to the uncanny field of emotions. Being in the space, in a constructed atmosphere, the viewer feels the tension between birth and death, existence and non-existence. The artist reveals that the work hints at the unavoidable grim reality of our temporal existence and adds: “The image of balloons on the sea itself is a very joyful one if we didn’t know what was to follow. I wanted to play on the suspense element between melancholy and joy with the support of music created for that. The reappearance of each balloon after being shot at reflects resistance but in a very poetic way… We know various forms of overpowering continue to haunt societies on different levels, politically, culturally or economically but we know as well that no suppression can be carried on forever.”