Been Waiting for the Rain to Flow

31 May-7 Jul 2024
PV 30 May 2024, 6-8pm

London SE15 4BW


Arcade and Flat Time House are pleased to present a new exhibition with Can Altay (TR, 1975). Through drawing, sculptural propositions and the presentation of research, Altay speculates how access to water can act as a model towards a more regenerative public space. Central to this presentation is a large-scale sculptural intervention, filling Flat Time House’s rear gallery, that acts as a proposal for a rainwater-harvesting drinking fountain. At this moment where water and its processing has become a subject of prevalent political dialogue, this exhibition provokes a conversation around our environment and who cares for it.

For over two decades, Can Altay has been addressing how we live together and how we inhabit the built environment and the planet through his investigations into the politics of everyday life, public space, urban ecologies, and artistic action. Altay often produces ‘settings’ that open themselves to common use and act as sites of collective production. A recurring area of exploration is the inhabitation of infrastructural spaces. Recently, he has been working on instruments and speculations around access to water, tapping into visible and not-so-visible flows in the city. His investigations appear, at times, as complex document-based installations and as sculptural and image-based work resulting from processes of distillation and abstraction. 

This exhibition brings together these explorations on water, flow, and circulation, mapping them onto the interconnecting spaces of Flat Time House. From buried rivers and underground waterways in cities to harvesting rainwater, Altay reflects on the question of water in terms of access and quality. Affordable power and unpolluted waterways are universal public concerns while developments in generating and deploying renewable energy sources, reutilising or harnessing climatic factors such as wind and rain, progress slowly. Recent drawings by Altay, which he scrapes over daily newspapers, imagine and frequently re-depict the fountain as a critical technology, collecting and re-distributing water. In tandem, Altay has been developing sculptural pieces (including a major presentation as part of the Coventry Biennial 2023) that explore the idea of fountains in relation to the importance of site in public sculpture.

Can Altay’s works have been exhibited at institutions such as Walker Art Center, PS1 MoMA, Hessel Museum of Art Bard College, ZKM, MAXXI, Artists Space, Van Abbe Museum, SALT; with solo shows in London, Berlin, Rome, Istanbul, Bolzano, Utrecht, Bristol. Altay participated twice in the Istanbul Biennial. Other biennials his work was shown include Havana, Busan, Gwangju, Marrakech, Yinchuan, Çanakkale, Taipei, and Thessaloniki. Altay’s works are included in public collections such as VanAbbe Museum (Eindhoven), ARTER-VKV (Istanbul). Public projects include open recording studio spaces MÇPS (Istanbul, 2017); “Loughborough Records Present Presence” (Loughborough, 2016); usable sculptures and networked objects “Inner Space Station” (New York, 2013); “Distributed” (London, 2012); and critical emancipatory propositions on existing formats as in “The Church Street Partners’ Gazette” (London, 2010-13) and “PARK: bir ihtimal” (Istanbul, 2010).

Selected works