Istanbul Modern hosts Selma Gürbüz solo show
HATİCE UTKAN ÖZDEN
In her artworks, Selma Gürbüz seeks to create a moment that can make the viewer see the world in truth. Her world has no race, sex, color, or distinctions, where every single organism is equal to each other, pondering on each of them as same.
Gürbüz’s recent exhibition at Istanbul Modern, “This Place We Call World,” is a perfect example that showcases her perception of the world. Each work of Gürbüz is proof of how she perceives the world around her. Her eagerness to discover new things and her curiosity, which is the driving force behind her creativity.
The exhibition centers work on pieces that have never been exhibited before, including digital art, and features more than 100 works ranging from paintings and installations to drawings, videos, and sculptures.
Even though her works are in pursuit of cross-cultural synthesis, the artist shows us that there is no difference between all worldly living beings. Somehow, all her creative work presents a source that gives us life and hope. That’s how Gürbüz seeks to manifest the past in the present and to reflect on civilizations.
Gürbüz is a very talented artist when using different themes in her works. Inspired by legends and fairy tales, she has tried to depict a timeless world through her art. With an enchanting way of narrating stories where she adopts dreams, fears, her spiritual journeys in her work, she tries to reach a point of pure intimacy with the viewer.
As she uses her own experiences, it opens a new dimension for the viewer to perceive her art in a different light. Thus, it is possible to see her art without any prejudices.
The works Gürbüz painted after her trip to Africa visualize the intersecting lives of humans and animals in the generous, warm, and sometimes menacing nature of this continent.
Usage of themes
Gürbüz’s usage of themes of life and death that are present in our collective memory is a way for us to understand her artworks.
She wants us to encounter the very idea of both death and life and accept them as they are.
While doing so, she tells us about her journeys to Africa and other parts of the world and that’s how she opens a new path for us to understand cultures and people. That’s how she establishes a connection with Iranian, Indian and Turkish miniature as well as the art of the Far East.
We witness that Gürbüz is using elements from Western painting, with which she is also familiar, and is also making use of materials from Eastern cultures. That’s how she opens the door to invite us to enter her world, which is full of spiritual teaching and how we discover her way of looking at the world while depicting human and animal figures in an inseparable union.
“‘This Place We Call World” is my first solo show following a three-year hiatus. It is a very special exhibition for me because it brings together my recent works for the first time and convenes examples from different periods of my artistic career,” said Gürbüz, noting that it is also quite meaningful for her that the show is hosted by Istanbul Modern.
For Gürbüz, each exhibition is a reckoning; she gets very excited. Sharing her works with the audience and unfolding her world before them gives her indescribable feelings.
According to the curator of the exhibition, Öykü Özsoy, “This Place We Call Earth” is more than an exhibition. It is a visual encyclopedia that has been formed by the distillation of Gürbüz’s artistic production, refined over the years.
“Presenting us the itinerant spirit of an artist who has traveled across different geographies, times, and cultures, the exhibition invites us to rethink her carefully selected topics related to humans, nature, and life,” said Özsoy.
The exhibition will stay open for art enthusiasts at Istanbul Modern until March 31, 2021.