Cevdet Erek studied architecture at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts in Istanbul between 1992 and 1999. In 2003, while practicing as an architect and performing with the rock group Nekropsi, Erek received his master’s degree in sound engineering and design at the Center for Advanced Studies in Music (MIAM) of Istanbul Technical University, where he also completed a PhD.
His artistic practice is based on the themes of sound, architecture, rhythm, measured time, dance music and site-specificity. Combining video, sound and images he often attempts to alter the viewer’s perception and experience of a given environment. He is particularly interested in the way we apprehend the world around us and organize our lives through measurements of space (metric system), time (calendar and clock) and music tempo (beats per minute). The artist conflates these seemingly objective systems with other apparently more subjective ones, such as the timeline of events or the changing rhythm in musical improvisations.
Cevdet Erek has had solo exhibitions at venues including Arter, Istanbul (2020), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Art Institute of Chicago (2019), M KHA, Antwerpen (2018), Pavilion of Turkey at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), MUAC, Mexico (2017), Spike Island, Bristol, UK (2014), MaerzMusik, Berlin, Germany (2013), Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Germany (2013), Kunsthalle Basel, Bâle, Switzerland (2012), Overgaden, Copenhague, Denmark (2011) and 300m² Art Space, Gothenburg, Sweden (2009).
He also presented his works in several group exhibitions in international venues such as Manifesta 14, Prishtina (2022), Singapur Biennial, Singapur (2022), Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna (2022), Akademie der Künste der Welt, Cologne (2021), SF MOMA, San Francisco; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2019), Shanghai Biennale (2018), 20th Sydney Biennale (2016), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2014), MAXXI, Rome; Istanbul Modern, Istanbul; the 5th Marrakesh Biennial; Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014), MAK, Vienna; the 11th Sharjah Biennial (2013), the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT7), Queensland Art Gallery, Stanley Place, Brisbane; CCA Wattis, San Francisco; dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel; SALT, Istanbul; New Museum Triennial with Ala Younis, New York(2012), Istanbul Biennial (2011, 2013, 2015), Tate Modern, London(2011) and Home Works 5, Beirut (2010).
During his residency at Rijksakademie, Cevdet Erek was awarded with the Uriot Prize for his video Studio (2005) and he received the Nam June Paik Prize in 2012.