9 March – 9 April 2017
DEPO is pleased to announce the opening of In Reverse a unique collaboration between artists Aikaterini Gegisian & Fatma Çiftçi centered on their audio-visual collage Beethoven vs Chopin (2015), an exploration of popular cinema of the sixties. Reflecting the artists’ parallel interests in gender representations and national identities, their work purposefully interweaves diverse vernacular and popular visual cultures in questioning narratives of modernity and historical constructions of the individual and collective body. Unlocking distinct cultural traditions through collaborative research, the artists employ a range of representational strategies from video, photography and collage to sculpture and embroidery.
While pop culture shapes the artists’ collaborative work Beethoven vs Chopin (2015), a collage film that combines scenes from Greek, Turkish and Hollywood popular films in an exploration of masculinity and national identity, in Gegisian’s Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman (2012-2016) postcards of women in their traditional dresses and national costumes across the post-Ottoman landscape construct a collective female body.
Pop archaeologies, female and male iconography take center stage in Gegisian’s collage works Goddesses (2017), Weaving-Homage to Parajanov (2017) & The Split (2014), while crafts attributed to women are employed in Çiftçi’s I will be a soldier 2 (2017) & Sultan Mustafa Mosque (2017). Weaving becomes a central metaphor in the exhibition, expressed in the use of traditional cross-stich embroidery for a scene of toy soldiers (I will be a soldier 2) and in the use of lacework to construct Takke prayer hats that are reshaped into architectural forms of mosques (Sultan Mustafa Mosque) or in the reference to the lace scene in Sergei Parajanov’s “Colour of the Pomegranates” (Weaving-Homage to Parajanov).
Providing a biographical layer, the artists’ older video works punctuate the exhibition; Çiftçi’s Once Upon a Time in İstanbul (2009) and Gegisian’s My Pink City (2014) portray the fractured reality of historical transitions in Istanbul and Yerevan respectively, and in the process frame the gendered interplays in the urban landscape.
As a range of symbolic languages are propelled into action, In Reverse explores images as containers of histories that shape and reshape bodies. At a times when history seems to be retreating, the inappropriate dialogue set up by Çiftçi & Gegisian forms a mechanism for the critical examination of identities across geographical and historical borders.
Artists in conversation with art-critic and curator Beral Madra: Thursday 9th March 2017, 6.30pm
Aikaterini Gegisian & Fatma Çiftçi, Beethoven vs Chopin, video, colour & b/w, stereo sound, 3 mins, 2015. Courtesy the artists