Discovery of soulmate, craftsmanship at show

Discovery of soulmate, craftsmanship at show

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Discovery of soulmate, craftsmanship at show

‘In True Love Soul Mate,’ artist Ebru Özseçen reveals a space where fantasy and memory hide from plain sight.

As an artist, Ebru Özseçen presents great diversity; ranging from urban intervention to sculpture and objects, from photography to video, from film installations to drawings. She is concerned with the dualities of inside/outside and public/private; and explores the position of individual memory in contemporary society. Investigating the seemingly mundane to expose magical and unseen aspects, Özseçen reveals a space where fantasy and memory hide from plain sight.

It is impossible to ignore the gender aspect in Özseçen’s work, in which she indiscriminately plays with the androgynous form – the phallus, vulva, uterus or scrotum. At times pushing the boundaries of pornographic obscenity, the artist always places erotic intensity in the foreground. On the other hand, in many of her works it is possible to recognize a deep-rooted admiration for the tradition of artisanship. The artist is drawn to the sensual quality of the form and the beauty of a well-accomplished object, and this approach invites the audience to interpret the artist’s practice from a new perspective. Özseçen’s sharp gaze on the form - and her romantic obsession with the beautiful, the pure, and the unsoiled - confronts us with sharp yet sensitive, violent yet graceful works that have been refined in the hands of a craftsman.

One of Özseçen’s works at Rampa, “Toplar” (Balls), portrays shining balls and pendants on a chandelier, which were photographed in an antique store in London. She has returned to these forms repeatedly over the years, as in “Şeker Avize” (Sugar Chandelier) exhibited in the 1999 İstanbul Biennial; in the tears falling from the façade of the Elhamra Passage on İstiklal Street in Beyoğlu in 2001; as well as in her 2009 sculpture “Kısmet,” among others.

For her exhibition at Rampa, “balls” are revealed again, in a three-dimensional photograph/relief/sculpture in the hands of the famous glass master Mayer of Munich. The work - which has been reprinted as a relief over glass and ornately designed with mirrors - opens a new space in which Özseçen questions the relationship between space and body through her inner experiences. As the spectators are able to see their own reflection on the work itself, Özseçen invites them to redefine themselves within the space in the photograph.

Özseçen’s new work, “Gerçek Aşk Gönül Eşi” (True Love Soul Mate), which constitutes the backbone of the exhibition at Rampa, is comprised of over 100 separate glass pieces. It was realized in collaboration with Mayer of Munich and Glasshütte Lamberts, which are among the most prominent handmade glass studios in the world, which for the first time opened their doors to contemporary arts for this work. Each piece is produced in different sizes and forms with hours of effort in 600-degree ovens. 

Recalling many of Özseçen’s pieces, heat once more emerges as a dominating component, both as a physical force and as an allegory. For this work, the artist divulges that “the concept of true love and soul mate employed in the title should be sought not in the realm of romantic love, but rather in companionship, camaraderie as signified in the craftsman’s delicate touch on the objects he has amorously devoted himself to.” Installing two of her works of the same form together, one from the beginning and the other from the most recent phase of her career, Özseçen prompts the audience to trace a playful phantom form.

Özseçen’s work has been shown internationally. Her first solo exhibition was at the Coimbra Science and Technology Museum in 2000. Other selected exhibitions are: Torino Bienal, Torino (1997); The International Istanbul Biennial, İstanbul (1997 and 1999); “İskorpit,” Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (1998); “Arguments,” Geneva Contemporary Art Centre and Geneve 17th Amsterdam World Video Festival.