Now Reading
After Earthquakes, Artwork in Istanbul Takes on New Resonance

After Earthquakes, Artwork in Istanbul Takes on New Resonance

After Earthquakes, Art in Istanbul Takes on New Resonance

ISTANBUL — Years earlier than the earthquake truly occurred, Ci Demi was taking pictures of it. The Turkish artist’s first sequence, Will the World Finish within the Daytime (2017–19), imagined indicators of the approaching catastrophe in eerily off-kilter city scenes: a bouquet of bent rebar, an deserted photograph album, a cityscape mirrored in stacks of concrete blocks. 

“I’ve all the time checked out Istanbul like a metropolis residing in a countdown, however we don’t know when that countdown began,” Demi advised Hyperallergic.

In what the artist referred to as a “very unhappy coincidence … [that] despatched a shiver down my backbone,” a gallery present of Demi’s work opened in Istanbul simply two days earlier than disaster struck final month. The epicenter of the dual earthquakes that hit on February 6 was not in Turkey’s largest metropolis, as many have been anticipating, however some 600 miles away within the nation’s southeast province of Kahramanmaraş. Greater than 55,000 individuals have died in each Turkey and neighboring Syria.

Information pictures of the quake’s aftermath discover visible echoes in Demi’s work, notably his 2018 {photograph} “Your Lonely Passport and Fragile Identification,” during which pink and grey shards of concrete lie scattered on a carpet. His present present at Mixer with fellow artist Umut Toros, Past the Panorama, is one in all a number of exhibitions at galleries in Istanbul’s central Beyoğlu district that have been envisioned earlier than the earthquakes however presciently converse to the profound sense of grief, ache, and disorientation now being skilled nationwide.

Ayça Telgeren, “Düşgören” (“Dreamer”) (2023), concrete, 12.5, 32 x 67 x 17 inches, version of 1/5 + 2 AP (picture courtesy Galerist)

“Generally I believe artists can really feel issues earlier than they occur,” curator Elâ Atakan advised Hyperallergic about her present A Momentary Absence at Galerist, which brings collectively 4 girls artists exploring how individuals deal with surprising loss. However the ideas all of those exhibitions grapple with are hardly new ones in a rustic that has skilled its share of political, cultural and social upheaval, together with earlier pure disasters.

Childhood recollections of the 1999 earthquake that struck close to Istanbul, killing at the very least 17,000 individuals, in addition to of a go to to the fragmented stays of her mother and father’ former village residence have infused artist Sibel Kocakaya’s work with a sensitivity towards the fragility of the buildings individuals see as their sanctuaries. Her solo present Earth and Construction, additionally at Mixer, contains small clay sculptures of indifferent staircases and work and collages combining architectural parts in precarious-looking preparations.

Chunks of historical columns and extra trendy buildings are carried aloft by individuals strolling down one in all Istanbul’s most important thoroughfares in Sena Başöz’s efficiency and video set up “The Parade” (2023), on view in her exhibition Prospects of Therapeutic on the cultural heart Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat. The work highlights the layers of historical past on which town has been frequently rebuilt over centuries, together with after conquest, catastrophe and dispossession.

Sena Başöz, “The Parade” (2023), efficiency and video set up, commissioned by Yapı Kredi Tradition Arts and Publishing (picture courtesy Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat)

Making what’s hidden seen and voicing what’s been silenced are additionally key themes within the equally titled present Collective ‘Therapeutic’ on the newly opened Metro Han cultural heart. It options greater than a dozen girls artists, most with connections to Turkey, who discover inventive methods to confront subjects corresponding to gender-based violence and repressive social norms. 

In Leyla Emadi’s site-specific work “Lifeless Finish” (2023), the phrases “Let me let you know a secret/ Nobody is exempt from ache/ It comes and goes/ Comes once more, goes once more” are carved in concrete blocks embedded within the steps of a staircase spiraling to nowhere. Tracey Emin’s video “Generally the gown is price extra money than the cash” (2001) depicts a bride operating by way of an arid panorama to a spaghetti Western soundtrack, whereas İnci Eviner creates a surreal tableau on the ragged fringes of Istanbul in her {photograph} “Nowhere-Physique-Right here” (1999), a response to controversial city transformation processes.

İnci Eviner, “Nowhere-Physique-Right here” (1999) (picture courtesy Metro Han)

The textual content for the Collective ‘Therapeutic’ exhibition refers to a discovering by the Turkish opinion analysis agency KONDA that girls are extra probably than males to report being depressed. Fairly than providing a palliative strategy, the exhibition seeks to discover methods of therapeutic that may’t be bottled and offered, ways in which as an alternative require “trying straight into the ache,” curator Ayça Okay advised Hyperallergic

After a few years of tightening restrictions on freedom of expression, individuals in Turkey are actually doing precisely that, she added, referring to the outcry over how the federal government dealt with final month’s catastrophe. “So many issues are gone after the earthquakes, however the [government’s] authority is gone too,” Okay stated. “It has modified the concern that was once in society.”

See Also
Ina Blom on Pierre Huyghe’s Variants

“The associated fee was actually excessive however I’m hopeful after a very long time for a change in the midst of the nation,” agreed artist Burçak Bingöl. Her work within the Galerist present A Momentary Absence has its roots in one other traumatic interval for Turkey, the sequence of bombings and different violent assaults that terrorized Istanbul, Ankara and different cities in 2015 and 2016. One such assault occurred the day a ceramic sculpture Bingöl was engaged on had exploded contained in the kiln.

Burçak Bingöl, “Parçaları Çoğalır I” (“Flawless Move I”) (2016–2023), glazed ceramics, steel, varied dimensions (picture courtesy Galerist)

Afterwards, Bingöl stated she discovered that she couldn’t let go of the damaged items of her destroyed work. “It was some type of creative intuition, to determine the way to survive,” she advised Hyperallergic. She glazed the fragments and painted flowers on them, then utilized an identical floral sample to a bomb swimsuit constructed from handwoven silk. (The fabric, coincidentally, was produced by a household in Antakya, one of many cities hardest-hit by this 12 months’s earthquakes.) “It was type of an ironic assertion — a ‘protecting’ swimsuit that wouldn’t defend me in any respect,” she stated.

The floral swimsuit and shards sat unused in Bingöl’s studio till late 2022 when Atakan approached her about contributing to an exhibition on absence. “When Elâ talked about the subject to me, I considered these works however was hesitant to deliver these days again once more,” the artist stated. Per week later, there was one other bomb assault in Istanbul. Bingöl took a sequence of pictures of herself within the bomb swimsuit, and added stems to her ceramic fragments to show them into flowers (Flawless Move, 2016–23) that blossom from the gallery ground and partitions.

Set up view of the exhibition Past the Panorama at Mixer, with works by Ci Demi and Umut Toros (picture courtesy Mixer)

Within the entrance room at Galerist, one of many pictures in Bingöl’s Postulated Sequences (2016–23) sequence is paired with a concrete sculpture by Ayça Telgeren of a shrouded, susceptible type that recollects current information pictures of earthquake victims coated with cloths. Telgeren’s work, “Dreamer” (2023), in reality depicts a physique wrapped in hair, a reference to the famously lovely locks of her ancestors from the Caucasus area and an inventive response to the loss she feels over a tradition and language that was by no means handed on to her. 

“Exhibitions aren’t nearly telling your story, they’re extra like a portal to an area the place individuals can inform their very own tales, one thing we’d like in Turkey particularly,” Bingöl stated. “Artwork has to rework these catastrophes; nobody wants to simply see a merciless actuality repeatedly.”

The exhibitions will stay on view by way of the top of the month.

Set up view of the exhibition Earth and Construction at Mixer, with works by Sibel Kocakaya (picture courtesy Mixer)
What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top