Inner workings of human psyche explored at show

Inner workings of human psyche explored at show

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Inner workings of human psyche explored at show

Neslihan Karaağaç’s works look like super-size Rorschach test plates. Her ‘Shadows’ series invites viewers to look through the stains before their eyes.

Neslihan Karaağaç, who recently opened her second solo exhibition in Istanbul at Pi Artworks Galatasaray, is working with a well known theme on a lesser known material.

Working on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with auto paint and tar, as well as conventional materials like acrylic paint, Karaağaç’s “Shadows” series invites viewers to look through the stains before their eyes.
Karaağaç studied psychology, and her painting career started when she picked it up as a hobby ten years ago. She received private tutoring from Ekrem Kahraman and Güneş Özmen.

“Kahraman encouraged me to create my own style and to proceed with my career as freely as I want to be.”

Karaağaç’s introduction to the material she is currently using was a matter of coincidence. “I noticed the PVC rolls when I went into the stationery shop to buy canvas. In my early career I worked in oil and acrylic on canvas.” The series currently on view is the result of two years of work, and the artist is determined to continue using the same materials for some time.

“The transparency and fluidity of PVC struck me also because it resonates with my thematic concerns. As a graduate of psychology I have long read and thought over the inner-workings of human psyche and theoretical and conceptual openings offered by psychoanalysis. “

Karaağaç works look like super-size Rorschach test plates. “I want the viewer to look into these forms and stains and to inspire them on an unconscious level so that each viewer will be reflecting upon their own stories and, in a way, themselves.”

Given this concern, dating back to the earliest days of avant-garde art, Karaağaç attempts to mark her position within this long-lasting tradition through her choice of cheap construction and plumbing material as her chief artistic materials.

Collecting for Özyeğin University

Neslihan Karaağaç is also engaged in a project to form the corporate collection of the Özyeğin Foundation which chiefly operates in higher education through Özyeğin University. The project aims to support young artists and to bring them closer to university students’ reach.

“It all got started with Hüsnü Özyeğin’s desire to see young and emerging Turkish artists on the walls of the university,” Karaağaç said. The project, titled Uni-Art, kicked off as the team effort of Karaağaç and Özyeğin’s daughter Ayşecan Özyeğin Oktay.

“We worked in two stages. The first stage was collecting [works by] young artists from galleries and visiting artist studios. Among them are young Turkish artists based in Paris and London. This project is to comprise the Özyeğin Foundation’s corporate collection to help young Turkish artists to realize their means by commissioning the works they want to make from them.”

Karaağaç said the second stage of the project included collecting works from internationally known Turkish artists like Kutluğ Ataman, Hale Tenger, İnci Eviner and Ali Kazma. The collection, representing 68 artists with 86 works in varying media, will be exhibited permanently on the walls of the university building. It will open for public viewing on July 19.

“I wanted to close the gap between the artists of my generation and younger generations. We are also working on making an online museum which employs 3D technology so that the viewers will be able to take a trip through the university and see the works.”