The relationship of city and architecture with “place”, and therefore the specific field of knowledge and action they engage with as conveyors of collective memory, still appears as a powerful field of transmission for artists. This was how Hera Büyüktaşçıyan and TUNCA, two artists who investigate via alteration the phenomena of city and architecture as the shared equipment of socio-cultural memory and individual experiences, and develop thought on the expression of the links between these phenomena and objects, actions and images, began, for this exhibition, to play the game of getting lost, discovering borders, wandering in physical/mental spaces and exploring meaning in the city. They went on journeys along the ancient borders of Istanbul, along its city walls, bastions and gates. As an outcome of this relational urban experience, they created a parallax effect in the gallery space as a motivation that provided a contribution to their associative and sensorial productions and that reveals, not the visuality or nostalgia the city creates, but the plurality and commonality of individual relationships formed with the city, and operate with its aura.
Hera Büyüktaşçıyan in her site-specific installation titled “Crooked Gate I, II and Threshold”, via the construction of memory and its relationality with architectural space, focuses on the space she occupies Minerva Han as a historical, political and symbolic witness. TUNCA’s drawings titled “Rotunda I, II, III” take their place in the space as images that possess a double symbolic quality, as an “inside-outside” as mentioned in Henri Michaux’s poem. Merleau-Ponty states that, in the journey of the “mind-body-world”, looking at the city from different viewpoints helps the individual to rethink her relationship with the city. Thus, HERA and TUNCA, too, take us to a fictional “place” with its melting doors, and walls with no entry point. The exhibition titled “Because We Are Here Where We Are Not”, takes its name from a poem by Pierre-Jean Jouve, and via the relationship of the city and architecture with “place”, invites the viewer to look at the invisible beyond physical and intellectual spaces, and beyond borders and thresholds, and to the journey of bodily experience transforming into artistic form.
Hera Büyüktaşçıyan (1984-Istanbul) graduated from the Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts Department of Painting. In her works, in order to form an imaginary bond between identity, memory, time and space, she emphasizes the state of “otherness” in the context of the concepts of lack and invisibility. Drawing on local myths, historical and iconographic elements, she creates a new means of narrative for the “other”. In her recent works, in order to investigate within collective memory the concepts of ‘deterritorialization’ and ‘emptiness-nothingness’, the artist focuses on the existential balance between the planes of the city, the self and otherness. Her selected exhibitions include EVA International Biennial, Limerick City, Ireland (2016); “Land without Land”, Heidelberger Kunstverein, Heidelberg, Germany (2016); “Istanbul: Passion, Joy, Fury”, MAXXI, The National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome (2016); 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015); 56th Venice Biennale, Armenia Pavilion, Venice (2015); “A Century of Centuries”, SALT, Istanbul (2015); “Fishbone”, State of Concept, Athens (2015); “The Jerusalem Show’’, Jerusalem (2014); “The Land Across the Blind”, Galeri Manâ, Istanbul (2014); IN SITU, PiST///, Istanbul (2013); and “Envy, Enmity, Embarrassment”, ARTER, Istanbul (2013). Hera Büyüktaşçıyan lives and works in Istanbul.
TUNCA (1982-İzmir) graduated from the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Department of Painting. Since the early 2000s, his multifaceted practice involving canvas painting, sculpture, installation, video and performance has seen him construct a universe of images formed via cultural identity and political phenomena. In 2005, in a performance realized as a parallel event of the 9th Istanbul Biennial titled “Floating Slum House”, he lived for a week in a simple slum house they constructed with Guido Casaretto and documented the process. A co-founder of the Sanatorium Civilian Art Initiative established in 2009, TUNCA received training as a professional chef in 2012 for his multi-disciplinary project linking gastronomy, history and politics titled “Desire”. His selected exhibitions include, “Desire”, art ON Istanbul (2014), 4th International Çanakkale Biennial, Çanakkale (2014), “Residue”, Pi Artworks, Istanbul (2013), Elgiz 10 Istanbul Exhibition, Proje 4L Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul (2011) and “Little Boy”, Sanatorium Civilian Art Initiative, Istanbul (2010). TUNCA lives and works in Istanbul.