Canan Tolon exhibition at Istanbul Modern
Canan Tolon is one of the most original and creative artists of her generation in terms of the rich variety of her research and her intellectual breadth. And now, her first solo exhibition in Turkey will be held at Istanbul Modern.
The new exhibition, “You Tell Me,” which opened on Sept. 6, presents a cross section of the artist’s work from the 1980s to the present.
Curated by Istanbul Modern Director Levent Çalıkoğlu, the exhibition provides the opportunity to rethink nature and the environment as well as architecture and culture, which today impacts not just the artist but humanity at large in all aspects.
“’You Tell Me’ is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Turkey held in a museum. This exhibition brings together important examples of the transformations in Tolon’s art, including works being exhibited for the first time and re-creations of the artist’s iconic installations that have already secured their place in the history of art,” said Chair of the Board of Istanbul Modern Oya Eczacıbaşı at a recent press conference.
Tolon’s artistic practice centers on nature’s continual renewal and on the traces left by architecture as a cultural enterprise. She designs an intellectual and visual world around the mutual impact and resistance between nature and architecture and the contradiction and consequences borne out of their encounter.
The experimental works leave the viewer undecided about whether the images they see are real or illusory, challenging them to question if they are photographs or paintings. Incorporating natural materials such as grass seeds, water and coffee grounds in her works, the artist lets nature come to life by setting metal pieces on her canvases and leaving them outdoors to let the weather transform them. Traces of time thus become an important starting point for the development of her paintings.
“Spanning 40 years, Canan Tolon’s unique artistic practice springs from a deeply personal impulse but ultimately concerns and intrigues all of us and belongs to a world whose limits we all endeavor to describe. In the exhibition, I’ve attempted to transport to the present Tolon’s memory of the works and moments and to contribute to her selection by taking into account her other works related to these contexts. Not only have we brought together close to 150 of her works, we have also re-created her notable installations that have already secured their place in the history of art,” Çalıkoğlu said.
About Canan Tolon
Tolon graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 1976 with a degree in design. She went on to study interior design at the Fachhochschule in Trier, Germany, completed her degree at Middlesex University in London and earned a master of arts in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983.
Her works are held in various national and international collections and have featured in several exhibitions, both in Turkey and abroad.
Tolon lives and works in Istanbul and San Francisco.