Nur Koçak’s pursuit of reality
Hatice Utkan Özden - ISTANBUL
Nur Koçak’s paintings and sculptures reflect onto our reality. She loves to show how media uses fetish objects, objectifies women images and opens new ways of understanding images in culture. Her new exhibition, titled “Your Blissful Souvenirs,” which is the most comprehensive exhibition opened at Salt Galata and Salt Beyoğlu, gathers her works from different eras.
“I was in Paris during 1970 and 1975 and I caught on the images in the magazines and window shops. I realized each image was a part of objectifying visuals of women and each image becomes a fetish object. So, I started to draw perfumes, women on the window shops and magazines, lipstick advertisements and many things like that,” said Koçak during the press conference.
Her window shops and magazine drawings in fact tell the viewer how we are destined to become the main target of the consumer culture. “However, I really wanted people to see how we depersonalize the female body.”
Then Koçak realized there is also a notion of loneliness and how a person can be alone in a culture that she does not recognize. “As a result, I started to draw machines and wanted to show how machines are a part of our culture of loneliness,” she said.
The exhibition at Salt Beyoğlu stands as the most comprehensive exhibition to date of Koçak, making it possible to see how she becomes Turkey’s first photorealist painter. The reality means everything for Koçak. Her creativity shines out with her perception of reality.
“While everyone thinks that my drawings have a critical approach, I must say, I defy that thought. All I want to show is the reality and be objective.”
Her large-scale drawings of perfume bottles, presented like an advertisement, is a proof of that. Perfume bottles, according to Koçak, are only the proof of how capitalist culture has affected us.
Being a part of the capitalist culture comes with a cost. Koçak examines Hollywood movies through their repercussions in Turkey. On the other hand, she tries to show how Turkey embodies the realities of pop culture.
Her works, titled “Ebrusan Vitrini” (Ebrusan Shop Window), created between 1993 and 1996, follows the window shop approach as she draws fishnet stockings embroidered with beads or rhinestones, lace lingerie and other accessories in a Beyoğlu lingerie shop.
“In a way I tried to show how these accessories are intertwined with İstiklal Avenue,” said Koçak.
When Koçak discovered new ways of expressing her thoughts, she focused on sculptures. “I always loved creating large-scale works,” she said, noting that her large-scale sculptures this time emphasize how a male body was objectified in our culture. Once again, her sculptures reflect the global consumer culture.
Her series, titled “Your Blissful Souvenirs,” once again looks through the cultural phenomena including postcards and mail art. The works are presented as an installation that allows the viewer to see a new approach in terms of seeing women’s place in popular culture. In this series, Koçak takes the reality and blends with creative images.
The Family Album series is distinctive. “When I returned from Paris I was drawing images from magazines and everyone told me that this is not the reality of Turkey, so I started to look through my photo albums and started to draw my own photo album, my parents’ photos from the 1930 and1950’s.”
The exhibition continues through Dec. 9.