Critics’ Picks

Yasemin Özcan, To Remember Everything Is a Form of Madness 2/40, 2016, ceramic tiles, dimensions variable.

Istanbul

Yasemin Özcan

artSümer
Kemankes mh. Mumhane cd. 46-50 Karaköy
September 22–November 26, 2016

“Dead-End of Bliss,” Yasemin Özcan’s first solo presentation at this gallery, is an object-theater of sorts that funnels mostly domestic objects into a Duchampian freeze, transforming their homely associations into uncanny proposals for survival in modern Turkey.

A quote from Brian Friel’s 1980 play “Translations” is incorporated into the title of Özcan’s To Remember Everything Is a Form of Madness 2/40 (all works cited, 2016): These words appear in Turkish on three ceramic tiles among a horde of others that are predominantly pink, cream, or floral patterned. Each tile serves as a metonymic device for individual homes furnished in a variety of styles by different social classes, thus stifling the viewer in an overdose of interiority. This archive is interested in our most intimate moments—the artist herself confesses that the installation features a tile from her own bathroom. The piece inevitably resonates with the collective sense of vulnerability prevalent in the country following the attempted coup, yet it also suggests healing is possible.

Good for One and Justice Tea Garden are installed across from each other. The former is a pan sized to cook for one—a gift to the artist—cast in brass with a stacked base approximately eight inches thick, an attempt to measure the emotional weight of living as a single woman. The latter features three identical cylindrical ceramic containers decorated with the same red flower, the type most commonly used on tea or sugar vessels in Turkey, and the Turkish words for “Justice,” “Tea,” and “Garden.” In a country where justice is indolently delivered at the laid-back pace of a garden tea, Özcan hints that patience may be a delicious virtue after all.