Critics’ Picks

Komet, States of Becoming a Bird, 2013, mixed media, 10 x 4 x 4”.



Buyuk Hendek Caddesi, Portakal Sokak no:2/6 Galata
February 18 - March 15

Curated by Elif Gül Tirben, this group exhibition is the first show at Tankut Aykut Gallery—a young, timely contribution to the rapidly growing gallery scene in Istanbul. The show brings together the gritty aesthetic of the neighborhood—where numerous small businesses can still be found, despite the rapid urban renewal that is transforming the area—with an unassuming visual language that runs throughout the exhibition. For instance, Fatma Belkıs and Onur Gökmen’s installation Company as Nose as Company, 2014, consists of a small folding wooden table, the type that is often seen bearing trivial commodities such as cigarettes or knickknacks on local streets. Here, however, over twenty noses walk around the tabletop thanks to small battery-powered motors: a Gogol story sprung eerily and excessively to life. Witty, understated, exchangeable, and reproducible, the noses evoke objects that would cheaply fill shoppers’ bags of goods, embodying both commodity fetishism and the functionality of objects.

Meanwhile, Komet’s States of Becoming a Bird, 2013, is a beautiful and diminutive sculpture encased in glass. This playful, handmade work contains perhaps the most direct reference to the title of the exhibition, as it hints at a state of becoming and the in-betweenness of character, both artistic and personal, as its abstract form (reminiscent of a horse’s head), emerging from the neck of a vase like something hatching from a shell or a chrysalis, hints at a state of becoming, an unfinished quality of character. Born in 1941, Komet is the oldest artist here by a few decades, and his work anchors the conceptual framework of the exhibition. Merve Ertufan’s Sketch, 2014, is another highlight. In this video, the artist sits and speaks with an illustrator who makes a sketch of her. One notices the board game Guess Who? on the table that separates them, and the air of self-consciousness that grows throughout the interaction. In the end, Sketch is a poetic stand-in for “the” artist in her studio.