Advice to the Crown Prince

1995, Installation

Book, paper, map, 4 color crayons

Developed for The 16th Contemporary Artists Istanbul Exhibition, İstanbul

Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum, Crown Prince Chambers, Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul


2015, Installation view: “How did we get here”, Salt Beyoglu, İstanbul

Book, paper, map, slide projector, 4 color crayons


The 16th Contemporary Artists Exhibition held once again at the Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum was the third consecutive exhibition in this series Ersen participated in. As could be discerned from its name, “Advice to the Crown Prince” (1995) directly pertained to the memory of the exhibition space. However, here the concept of the successor was employed not in relation to the imperial family structure, but rather addressing the coming generations of the Republic that abolished this system. 


The supplementary “Turkey” textbook and maps delineating climate, geographic formations and underground resources used in middle school were placed on one of the museum’s tables used for children’s classes. Such maps and the content of the book obviously had nothing to say regarding the social turmoils of this geography, contemporary tensions and historical wounds. An enlarged copy of the book’s prologue depicting a pastoral portrait of the county in a homogeneous, consistent unity echoing other apolitical texts targeting the youth of 1980s was placed on the wall behind the table. An empty map of Turkey was placed on one of the desks children used during museum painting classes. The four colored pencils at the edge of the table symbolically offered future generations the possibility to put aside the maps presented to them and shape this empty map before them the way they wanted with a pluralist approach using different colors. As such the work entailed a call to create awareness rather than consume the narrative re-produced by the official ideology, and perhaps to rewrite the text from scratch.