merve çanakçı

merve çanakçı

"paper cut"

19 February - 28 March 2015

artSümer is proud to host Merve Çanakçı’s third solo show ‘Paper Cut’ from February 19 to March 28, 2015.

Having concentrated in her previous exhibition (That Mood, 2012) on the repetitive and performative world of household chores and the relation of the accompanying mental process to the performances, Çanakçı with this latest solo exhibition extends the interrogation further into the past. The examination of the house as not only providing shelter, but as the primary place where the social structure one lives in and its norms, hence one’s upbringing is supplied to one’s mind and body, figures as the common point in varying levels among all of Çanakçı’s works. What is meant by mental and physical performances is the individual’s mentality, form of thinking, and dream or fantasy world, as well as any kind of repetitive act in one’s daily routine: eating, drinking, cleaning, playing, making love, working...

As the artist embroiders cloth surfaces, a material essential in human life, she further refines her hybrid understanding of technique. The relation of paint and technique with faulty cloths stretched on a frame and/or a blanket hanging on the wall opens up to different contexts in the artist’s practice. One of these is the relation between art and daily life. Through her mode of intervention on the materials, the artist displays her investigations into the place and workings of art practice in daily life. The act of recreating an image on various cloths of low purchase value indicates the individual’s question of self-actualization and transformation. As LeFebvre wrote, while human labor, the struggle to earn a living, or artisanship was linked to one’s self-actualization before modernity, work done to earn money lost its connection to one’s capacities and interests following modernity [Everyday Life in the Modern World, Metis, 1998, p.41]. Thus the evolution of workshop tailors into factory workers, artisans’ creativity into standard aesthetic understanding.

The title of the show references paper, a material that while not on exhibition, indicates the preliminary stages of the works, and a paper cut, an almost invisible and yet enduringly painful wound. A paper cut is thin and closes up easily. Even when the cut can no longer be seen, splinters left under the skin continue to tingle and remind themselves. Çanakçı invites us to venture into the scar.

Throughout the show we encounter images and scenes in the states of becoming more real / realistic. The state of realization corresponds to the transparency of the image greeting the viewer, and even to the feeling of being incomplete. And the state of becoming more realistic points to a blur, to the problem of presence vs. absence. These scenes pertain to the first records engraved in a person’s mind and body, transformed all the while they are kept one’s entire life – ‘childhood’.

The viewer wanders in the not always explicable but certainly uncanny gap between childhood memory and their reflections on the person’s present. This is an intuitive rather than psychoanalytical investigation, one based on experience. As the artist puts it, the aim is not to heal, but to confront.

Born in 1982, Merve Çanakçı studied painting at Mimar Sinan Fine Art University. Her first solo show took place at artSümer in 2010. Selected group shows include : ‘Soft City’, Alan İstanbul, ‘Stay With Me’, Apartment Project, Berlin and ‘A Dream But Not Yours’, Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC. The artist lives and works in Berlin.

Text : Özgür Erkök Moroder