Textuality and knit-work merge in new exhibition
ISTANBUL-Hürriyet Daily News
Contemporary artist Merve Şendil’s strawberry chandelier consists of 580 pieces of knitted strawberries. The work is one of the most interesting pieces in the exhibition.Young contemporary artist Merve Şendil’s latest exhibition, currently showing at Pi Artworks, chiefly consists in knit-work tapestry, displaying visual frames of a magic-realist story and uses the artist as its central protagonist.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, Şendil said she had eliminated some aspects of her technique, such as voice-overs accompanying the works. “I grew to find the voice-overs telling the story extremely didactic and dictatorial. It sounded like they were commanding the audience on how the works should be interpreted. I also am giving up on a chief element of my technique in the next exhibition”, she said, referring to the short stories she writes to help describe her knit-work tapestry.
Şendil’s exhibition, titled “Bird Day,” is based on an unhappy-ending escape story of a bird named “A,” together with the artist. The story is displayed in text version at the exhibition venue.
“Story-writing has become too paralyzing for me in my daily life. I get obsessed with the story almost to the extent of not being able to go on with my daily life. Therefore, this is my last exhibition that relies on a narrative. In the future, as in another mixed exhibition currently ongoing at Rumeli Han in Taksim, I will be depicting work that relies on verse lines not based on a storyline or plot.”
It seems that textuality is nonetheless indispensable for the artist, despite her moves to work within the framework of a looser form of text, as opposed to the intricately woven structure of a story, for which perhaps the best metaphor is her choice of knit-work in art making. She says that when she picked up knitting she was only able to knit a scarf to a loved one and that she improved herself with the aid of her mother.
The artist’s choice of the medium dates back to seven years ago, when she started to collect amateur band demos for an archive project. “When I was presenting the archive, I wanted to underline the fact that I am an amateurish archivist and that the objects of my inquiries were amateurish bands. To forcefully underline this when presenting the work in visual terms, I thought about introducing something else in which I am equally amateurish. So, I did not want to make a painting in which I am a trained professional. That is how knitting came into my life. I prepared the project’s logo as a knitted cloth.”
Şendil said the act of knitting pointed to the way the real world and her fantastic inner world were intertwined in her works. “The reason why I have worked in written texts is also related to my fantasy concerns. I am great fan of fantasy comics. I still believe that I can be a superhero and save the world one day. In a story I can achieve this wish fulfillment. Therefore my art benefits greatly from the written text.”