Materials thrown away by our society and useless things of the everyday, take significant meanings and poetically become different forms, abstract shapes, sometimes unrecognizable and far away from the original object and its function. This is not a new story: artists have been gathering from the streets and use the original source to make new work since maybe a hundred years, since the rise of a social system that throws away and keeps buying; the replaced object is usually a different quality, a different material and design to the previous. How impossible it is to preserve and at the same time how easy it is to make something that lasts forever. Forever? What is most recent though, is how our bodies are used in consuming, sucking everything and everywhere using different spaces all the time, our body in the office, at the airport, in the park, at home, online; that easiness and constant flux has unavoidably created a strong sense of detachment, better say detouchment. Surfaces become (in)significant, materials too. Apps do dominate. A society obsessed with preservation, archiving and classification, obsessive professionalization where everyone, and the artist at the center, becomes a medium for experiencing spaces. The architecture of the gallery and the artist’s work. How easily such things can go wrong. How do artists respond to gallery spaces is also not a new story, but since the world has become full of art spaces of all sorts it is significant to highlight that.
This is not a show against the machines; machines are the creations of our imagination and fantasies. This is an effort to look at hand made things and dream. Again. We take for granted the predominance of conceptual practices and the fabricated works it has produced and keeps producing in collaboration with manufacturers of all kinds. This exhibition looks at artists whose work is aware of the conceptual tradition and processes and follows it in a way that things are communicated in a social and sensible way hand in hand with great imagination and freedom, while creating new languages, new channels of looking at things. Materials become central this time and craftsmanship too. Fabrication is not a means to an end.
“Burn These Eyes Captain, and Throw Them in The Sea!!” is an exhibition we longed for since we are thirsty for things made, colors and dreaming. We are honored to have a body of works by the late Běla Kolářová (1923 ,Terezín -2010, Prague) from the 70s and 80s, shown in Istanbul for the first time. Her domestic practice and continuous work with make up and things of the ‘feminine world’, like sewing props and cosmetics of all kinds has given her a special place in the history of art. The drawings presented are poetic classifications of the color pink in various forms and shapes very carefully organized in the space. Rey Akdogan (b.1974, lives in New York) as her usual practice has responded to the gallery space with a site-specific installation that has given birth to a body of works that derive from it. While removing the glasses of the ‘blind’ windows on the corridor the whole politics of a city in growth and anarchy appears. The windows are left open and the glasses, originally surfaces of diffuse then just reminders of a past to all of us working in the gallery every day, become painterly sculptures that are organized in a very practical manner. A kaleidoscopic slide projection that she composed by putting together commercial material of the packaging world, the paraphernalia of the photographic system of things like coloring filters and things the wrapping industry has gotten rid off reveals details very few of us have ever realized were there. The projector transforms these details into flat abstract sculptures; in a way like the microscope shows us the details of a system unknown to our bare eyes so does the Kodak machine exposes the unseen of the commercial secrets of a world we all inhabit and consume. Andy Coolquit (b. 1964, lives in Austin) is picking material since years now from the streets that become part of his living environment and studio that eventually become large scale installations composed of various sculptural elements. The light sculptures that we are scattered around the gallery are made of metal tubes that Andy gathers and very carefully organizes in color and materials. The work of Eloise Hawser (b.1985, lives in London) is looking at the ready-made, while that is decontextualized she is interested in industrial processes and the mechanical in relation to the human body; she is using manufactured objects like the shower door from her domestic environment altered, the remaining water marks on and a table that she produced as a proposal for a corporate office space. In Hawser’s work the handmade and the manufactured come together in a very elegant way and coexist ad infinitum. The double-screen work by Ken Okiishi (b.1978, lives in New York) is an abstract storyboard of two machines in the act of painting. A relic of a public performance, Okiishi’s work comes from the world of documentation and becomes an autonomous work that one forgets what it was all about in the beginning. Sounds of bullets and vague colors dominate the screen reminiscent of war footage but as the camera moves away from the wall it’s already facing you realize you are in the interior of an experiment: a chamber in a busy place where the viewers are not let in and are controlling while watching an attack of color from the outside. A metaphor for the ‘screen’ this second life of the chamber, this time on screens itself is a fantastic collaboration of the digital with the material world. Ron Nagle’s (b.1939, lives in San Francisco) characteristic ceramic sculptures feel like they have landed from another planet, another moment in history and time.
Tamara Henderson (b. 1982, lives in Vancouver) works with film and via film with script writing objects, sculptures and paintings. Accent Grace on Ananas is a short film, specifically directed despite its feeling of improvisation and chance. The glasses are a produce of the film and they are interiors of pineapples. The three paintings are drafts of the film Henderson is currently producing called Corpse Reviver (not on view). The series is titled Corpse Reviver Suite and corpse reviver is a cocktail, said to be lost in time; this drink is meant to be drank when things are bad to make them better (less worsen them in the artist’s words) by consuming what made them bad in the first place. Colin Whitaker (b.1980, lives in Istanbul and New York) makes videos and installations. Teleferik is a sculpture that he made during his stay in Istanbul and it’s a homage to the téléphérique that takes one over Maçka Park in the center of the city. Viola Yeşiltaç’s (b.1975, lives in New York) practice is performance based. Her last series of works, where she paints with ink on thick materials like vinyl or leatherette, comes from her visit in China where she learned calligraphy. Combining figuration with writing she uses the plain as a process of automatic drawing where many things occur on.
Ian Law (b. 1983, lives in London) new works are the result of a research on the domestic and the familiar material. He is using refrigerator doors in replacement to canvas and material that is to be placed on the doors with a magnet instead of paint. Law’s work is responsive to the space and location it usually inhabits and it is the result of an ongoing process that dwells in the work’s genealogy.
Ann Cathrin November Høibo (b. 1979, lives in Oslo) works with materials that she makes, weaving works and processed works, paints on canvas and uses found objects bound with literature and fiction. At Rodeo she is showing a new painting and a weaving piece.
Rodeo is very happy to bring together these artists that most show for the first time in Istanbul. This is not a generational exhibition and brings together artists from different geographies, backgrounds and ages, artists that come from different schools.