ELMAS (Fear of Poverty)
27 March - 8 May 2012
Maçka Art Gallery Istanbul

“In her exhibition entitled ELMAS, Deniz renders visible various norms and signifiers of the notion of poverty, and accepted value systems as well as their fear-based psychological reflections. The show consists of a dual arrangement of works, one spilling onto the street with a banner and the other filling the gallery space with a set of ready-made objects and installations. The latter involves the application of these objects and installations through habits such as gathering, hoarding, reproducing, heaping and collecting.

Things that appear in the show include a bent fork; an overused Sümerbank bag with stitches on tears; a hand-woven bird nest made with a credit card, a wristwatch, and a lighter mixed with natural elements such as branches of trees and dried bushes. Happy Collection (2012) is another installation that comprises a selection of empty food, drink and detergent boxes in the niches of the gallery that normally host valuable objects.

Among all these disparate objects, Poverty Line (2011) appears as the backbone of the show as a document piece. The copies of documents sent to Deniz by the Execution Office of her neighborhood are installed in a straight line on the main arc that divides the gallery space into two equal parts, reaching as a border both vertically and horizontally through the space. Outside, where the internal tiling of the gallery extends, the viewer is greeted with a banner with statistics in poverty in a global scale.

In this arrangement where everyday objects, official documents, and pure data becomes an art object these objects, documents and texts have been chosen by Deniz for their roles as signifiers of the larger contexts from which they have been severed rather than for their formal qualities. These objects, documents and texts are class and economic signifiers of a certain culture of consumption and lifestyle. On the other hand, each seem to betray these qualities as they are displayed in niches and on plinths as absolute sculptural presences.

Deniz brings together conceptual binaries that are part of our class consciousness today such as wealth/poverty, independence/belonging, consumption object/art work, document/art work, private/public, center/periphery, artificial/natural, new/used, singularity/plurality etc. by way of turning them into the basic material and production method of her art. [ Excerpt from the press release.] Photo Credits: Merve Kılıçer, Sevgi Ortaç.