Artist merging video with bits of ephemera
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily NewsYoung German artist Sophia Pompery is at Arter with her first solo Istanbul show. The artist’s oeuvre is marked by use of multimedia, showcasing various bits of ephemera side by side with video installations.
The exhibition, titled “The Silent Shape of Things,” opened on June 21 on the top floor of Arter, simultaneously with Berlinde de Bruyckere’s “Wound.”
Born in Berlin in 1984, Pompéry studied fine arts and sculpture at Weissensee School of Arts and Institute for Spacial Experiment, University of Arts, Berlin. Since 2004, she has had more than 10 solo shows and participated in several group exhibitions at institutions such as the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art and the Reykjavik Art Museum. Her video installation “Lighting Up, Burning Down” was previously shown at Arter as part of the institution’s inaugural exhibition “Starter.”
She has been living in Istanbul for four months as part of an artist exchange program funded by the German Academic Exchange Service. Of all the options, Pompery chose Istanbul because, she says, she finds the art scene in Istanbul particularly interesting.
Pompery said she was asked to do this show almost two months ago. As two months was too short a space of time to make a whole set of brand new works, she had to make use of her previous works for the selection. The video work “Frequency” was made in Istanbul for the Arter exhibition, and the rest of the show features works made over the last three years.
“Frequency,” consists of a black box with a screen. The frequency waves on the screen are actually pieces of video footage of the moonlight falling on the Bosphorus.
“I like to show what I see rather than producing a work, so my work is more about sharing what I observe with the audience, and the rest of the work is completed by the viewer who interprets it,” Pompery said.
Pompery produces video works that derive from her interest in everyday objects and physical phenomena, and she exhibits them together with various pieces of ephemera. Works like “Two Meters,” which show two meters in a glass frame, one longer than the other (contrary to what we could possibly assume); or the similarly impossible “Popcorn Clone,” in which two identical popcorn flakes are cast in plaster and exhibited in a glass frame, fall into the second category, together with “Light Shade,” which is a work photographed without after effects. Pompery’s works that are based on the use of ephemeral objects challenge the viewer’s conception of physical reality. The simplicity of the material and the complexity of the process of producing the remarkable out of the mundane is the core of Pompery’s oeuvre.
Laying bare the device
Pompery’s phenomenological approach finds its perfect form in the video installations in the show, which also benefit from the documentation of everyday events. These events are deliberately mystified by the artist, as in the work titled “Kawala Play,” which shows her mirror reflection on a bubble blown through a kawala, as well as “Still Water,” which again employs a mirror’s reflection on a water surface.
However, Pompery is not interested in creating illusions. She is wise about the fact that she is working in the space that separates an artist from an illusionist. Therefore, she carefully lets us observe the making of the “illusion” in the video, with her unique way of laying bare the device effect each time. This work, together with “Two Meters” and “The Plume,” has already made its way into Arter’s permanent collection.
“The Silent Shape of Things” is running at Arter until Aug. 26.