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  • Our Artists Evaluate 2016

    2016 took us by storm… It brought about various artistic experiences as the world witnessed important developments.

    5 of our artists evaluated the year from a professional perspective and shared their expactations of 2017 with us.


    Aslı Kutluay at Elgiz Museum

    Aslı Kutluay:

    The chaotic situation that we intensely experienced in our country in 2016, the change of system and terror threat. The thing we discuss most often with our friends was “shall we leave” or “where shall we go?”. Ok, let’s leave, but will the pleace we will go to be safer? Perhaps there will be no war, but will we go, just for the sake of a more prosperious life, to a country that carelessly consumes all the planet’s resources, threatening other people’s land, designing the cycle of wars all over the world as a political tool? and will we be happy by producing more garbage where we are? At the end of the day we consume the same oxygen; how safe can we be? I think we should take journeys of individual meditation and purification without leaving the lands we already live in.

    Today the most inspiring characters for me are, for example a young person living in a shelter who dedicated his life to dogs; the Aborigins who know no urge to “possess”, who have no culture of “fences”; or people who dared to set up communities outside the system and to give up on the concept of money… In my works I myself pursue new narratives that would help me express these. I can describe it as a journey to build my own cultural tribe by avoiding repetition, by reflection, development, sharing and purification. In 2016 I intensely worked for my project titled Melting Point where I tried to underline the importance of global warming and wars. Our project curated by Vittorio Urbani was exhibited at the opening of Venice Biennial and in Altamura, followed by its third stop in Istanbul, the Elgiz Museum, during Istanbul Design Biennial as a parallel event, with its more optimistic, updated version. Our paths with Art50.net crossed this ways as well, and I see them as a tribe gallery embracing a  purified, dynamic, innovative and futurist prespective independent of space. In 2017 I want to keep working on new projects where I can share these ideas I have.


    Genco Gülan:

    Although the number of my exhibitions, cities and countries of exhibition have increased, 2016 was not a year you could describe with pink sentences. The art sector went through a political and cultural acid test and proved itself. More importantly, the definition of responsibilities that art and artists have began to change under the changing circumstances and they did not remain in the void. Good art likes dilemma, after all.



    Genco Gülan, Taner, 2016. Acrylic on body. Refers to Taner Ceylan. Photo: Ceylan Atuk. Make Up: Ece Çetiner


    Baysan Yüksel:

    For me, 2016 has professionally been a period of intense production and transition. Firstly, the most satisfying development for me has been to begin to resume independent work again, in Istanbul. I began new projects. Right now I work on two different series. The exhibition A Season in Hell that I was featured in at Alan Istanbul changed the way I saw my approach towards my work and in a positive way. That viewpoint is also reflected in my current work. Conducting an artist talk and interacting with the visitors at the exhibition PROFILER I joined with Art50 was another activity that broadened my vision.  another important development was the Lulu Comics which we founded with my author frend Zeynep Alpaslan. An independent project we founded to share drawing-stories, tales, children’s books, fanzines, mini-books and more. In 2016 we both worked like ants. Zeynep kept writing and I kept illustratting. Thus in addition to my individual projects I also had the chance to produce illustrations for comics and children’s books.

    My expectations for 2017 are to complete my ongoing series and turning them into and exhibition, joining international shows and artist residencies in this direction. Plus we also have an exhibition project we are planning under Lulu Comics, I also want to realize that project and keep on producing more works. I hope 2017 comes as a more productive, peaceful and optimistic year for all of us!


    Baysan Yüksel explains her work at the artist talk at PROFILER exhibition

    Saliha Yılmaz:

    Frankly, it seems meaningless to me to talk about life while so much destruction, death and mourning go on around us. But we have to resist and hang in there through all this process so that, with the passage of time, beautiful things can emerge. The greatest professinal developments for me in 2016 were: my graduation from Yeditepe University Master’s Program in Plastic Arts. In the same period I joined a three-week-long artist residency program called “Once Upon a Time in Dartmoor”. My expectation from 2017 is healing, for everyone and everything.


    Saliha Yılmaz in front of her works at the exhibition PROFILER


    Hadra Tanrıverdi Birecik:

    Despite all… As we leave another year behind, I can say that in 2016 I professionally focused on identities, dialogues, metropolis, space-nonspace notions, stories, as I did in the last five years… This has been the year of “Joint Monogolues” that encompasses all of this. I had the chance to exhibit the paintings that I created within this framework at my solo exhibition at Galeri Eksen in October.

    We live in a pluralist, cosmopolitan city or even world, and we are such people.. I mean we are partiall assimilated, partially pluralist. Who among us could be exposed to such a situation and remain immune to it? But in all this chaos, stuff happens in the “big city life” that also inspires you artistically. In this sense I find art fairs rather important for I think they have a quality independent of space. Contemporary Istanbul is one of them. This year we saw its 11th edition and although it hosted a smaller crowd compared to previous years, it was an art event that sustained the ‘Universal Network’ and brought about iverse dynamics throughout the exhibition. How would 017 be; I don’t know. I haven’t planned it. Whatever comes… Whatever happens… did you plan anything? Please don’t, let it flow… Bu I want to be creating art, I know that much.


    A view from Hadra Tanrıverdi Birecik’s solo exhibition that took place at Galeri Eksen Balat