Critics’ Picks

  • View of “Sena Başöz: Possibilities of Healing,” 2023. Photo: Koray Şentürk for Yapı Kredi Culture Arts and Publishing.

    View of “Sena Başöz: Possibilities of Healing,” 2023. Photo: Koray Şentürk for Yapı Kredi Culture Arts and Publishing.


    Sena Başöz

    Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts
    İstiklal Caddesi No: 161
    February 3–May 31, 2023

    Water features prominently in Turkish artist Sena Başöz’s practice—ebbing and flowing, connecting and separating, sparkling one moment and disappearing the next. One of Başöz’s initial forays into art was a series of videos that explore feelings of alienation, including Swimming Across II, 2009. The work depicts the artist wearing a swimsuit and goggles, desultorily stroking her way across the floor of the Reuters office in Istanbul where she once worked as a data executive. Feeling like a fish out of water, it is there that she desires to go, flowing away from her desk job into the uncharted oceans of public art.

    This and other early works are on display in Başöz’s latest exhibition, “Possibilities of Healing,” alongside a new two-channel video titled Seabird, 2023, in which the artist takes a ferry across Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait and reaches out to faraway shipping containers. As if plucked from the horizon, the crates are reproduced, now the size of candies, in the artist’s hand. Başöz swallows the miniaturized cubes, a gesture mimicking the disruption of global commerce during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the second half of the video the scale shifts in the opposite direction, showing Başöz wandering around a dock—a fun-size consumer surrounded by massive commodities.

    Nearby, the installation A Consolation, 2020—for which Başöz shredded documents and photographs from her own archive and applied algae to the innumerable strands of paper fragments—is displayed in a heaping pile in the corner of the gallery. A video monitor placed among the detritus shows leaves of posidonia oceanica, a seaweed native to Mediterranean waters, swaying with the aquatic current.

    Concluding the show is the photographic installation Leap into the Future, 2023, which repurposes archival images by the pioneering Turkish photographer Selahattin Giz of athletes in various states of motion. Başöz arranged the enlarged reproductions on a white wall, among them an image of an unidentified female swimmer, diving into a sea of negative space in a pose anticipatory of Yves Klein’s Leap into the Void, 1960. Her body seems to have thrown off any burden of doubt before embracing the unknown.