Ayşe Erkmen

Galerie Barbara Weiss

“Possessions” simply does not do justice to the range of meanings associated with “Habseligkeiten,” the title of Ayşe Erkmen’s latest exhibition. Nor can other common English translations—“belongings,” “things,” “stuff”—capture the word’s rich roots: Haben (property), Seele (soul), selig (meaning both “deceased” and “blessed”), Seligkeit (the bliss of salvation or sheer joy). In German, the term is customarily used to describe the effects, always few and often worthless, left behind by a modest person; personal valuables taken in haste by someone on the move; things kept through expediency as opposed to necessity. Often portable, Habseligkeiten are possessions that can bear fresh signs of dispossession: migration, exile, death.

Erkmen, who divides her time between Berlin and Istanbul, subtly addresses local context wherever she exhibits. “Habseligkeiten” was recently named the most beautiful

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