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Murder in Three Acts

Murder in Three Acts is a scripted crime drama rehearsed, performed, and filmed during Frieze Art Fair 2012 in the framework of Frieze Projects.

The first stage of the work, executed by a professional crew of actors and producers, was structured as a real-time performance, viewable by visitors to the fair. Consisting of three episodes, Murder in Three Acts was filmed as one episode per day. The art-fair booth that served as the set for Murder in Three Acts was separated into two parts: a pseudo art space where the exhibited art works were involved in the crime and an ad-hoc forensics lab where these objects were examined as pieces of evidence.  

Utilizing the modus operandi and parlance of television crime dramas, the project compares forensic experts with art professionals, based on their methodologies of extracting the ‘truth’ from physical artifacts. Murder in Three Acts, through the comparison of these two distinct tradecrafts, seeks to underline the construction and legitimization of a story when it is anchored by expertise. The process-based nature of unraveling the work is a nod to the piecemeal transformation of an object into a readable text in the process of interpretation or analysis.

Murder in Three acts was commissioned and produced by Frieze Projects in partnership with Delfina Foundation’s artist-in-residency program. The project was produced in association with Manifold Projects.


Performance/Film commissioned by Frieze Projects, 2012. HD film, 3 Episodes (1st Episode: 8.15, 2nd Episode: 7.47, 3rd Episode: 6.30 minutes), English with sound.



Murder in Three Acts takes these ideas further as Çavuşoğlu playfully investigates how stories, assumptions and prejudices about art can create an artwork. Here, she shares her evidence, accumulated from research into television’s representation of art and artists, before staging her performance at Frieze.

ArtSlant by Ana Finel Honigman 


Alsi Çavuşoğlu’s playful pastiche of popular TV crime dramas, Murder in Three Acts (2012), which was on show (11th – 25th October 2013) throughout the raw spaces of the Delfina Foundation’s London space currently in mid-renovation.

Ibraaz by Natasha Hoare


These installations unfold the following quote cited in the third episode by the female detective: “If we find out what the collection means, we will also find out what murder is.” Cavusoglu again circulates her questions in this new exhibition context by documenting her “facts” in a maze of overlapping paths.

Flash Art By Başak Şenova


Murder in Three Acts has only a surface level of meaning as a crime drama, but it is really a cutting and extraordinarily erudite commentary on the way the artworld imposes meaning upon objects.

Aesthetica by Daniel Barnes


Who did what and to whom, you ask, of Turkish artist Asli Çavuşoğlu’s Murder in Three Acts.

Guardian by Adrian Searle


Ash Cavusoglu’s “Murder in Three Acts” uses a professional cast and crew to create a reflexive commentary on crime television and the functionality of exhibitions, playfully staging a scene during the opening hours of the fair.

Financial Times by Susan Moore

Mostra debate arte como crime e vice-versa

Folha de S.Paolo by Fernanda Mena