An exhibition with women at the center

An exhibition with women at the center

Istanbul Modern exhibited the retrospective of a female artist for the first time in 2006 by putting together the works of Fahrelnissa Zeid and her son, Nejad Devrim.

That was a breaking point and the continuation came in 2011 with the “Dream and Realty,” exhibition. This exhibition included the creations of nearly 70 female artists from Turkey’s history of modernization, from the beginning to our current days.

Since then the museum has organized a number of exhibitions with the pioneering and critical stances of female artists at the center.

The newest exhibition is one not to be missed.

The “Who is Inside You?” exhibition by İnci Eviner, who is one of Turkey’s contemporary arts’ most prominent names, happens to be a first, as it is a retrospective of a still-living female artist.

As said by curator and museum director Levent Çalıkoğlu, “There are few exhibitions like this which encapsulate so much life. It is an exhibition that cannot be easily forgotten.”

Turkey’s socio-political and cultural transformation

Turkey’s socio-political and cultural transformation can be observed through the creations of Eviner, who never points a finger, while she has a strong substance that is specific to her. 

During an interview conducted by Rana Öztürk and published in the exhibition’s book, Eviner said that after all the drawings from the shelves surfaced she came to realize that the 1990s were the most important turning point in forming the backbone of her current works. “I just wanted to exhibit them all one more time and get them to be interactive. That required a rather complex exhibition pattern,” she said.

It’s precisely for that reason that “Who is Inside You?” is an exhibition which harbors surprises.

It’s up to you where you want to go once you enter the exhibition room. There is no chronological order.

There is something unexpected behind every corner.

On the one hand, while all the small rooms are separate worlds, on the other they are all different faces of the same world.

Drawings, videos, sculptures and photographs are all intertwined. And the whole space is an installation in itself.

The works of the artist, who has a political view on women’s issues, not just only motivates you to think but pushes you toward dialogue.

Despite all of its individuality, it is such a mirror of society and so much about humans that you cannot escape the questions that we often avoid asking. 

Çalıkoğlu defined the art of Eviner as “both historical but also actual in terms of current times.” That’s really the case.

No matter how dated they are, “The Heart Ready to Explode,” with a reference to suicide bombs, and “European Union,” with an Elizabethan collar, belong as much to today as to yesterday.

Walking through the exhibition just one day after the attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport, Eviner talked about the necessity of believing in the healing power of art. Yet she also confessed that she was worried that “’The Heart Ready to Explode’ was still contemporary.”