Büyükdere35 Culture and Art Platform is hosting Eylül Ceren Ersöz’s first solo exhibition titled “Aynı Gökyüzü (The Same Sky)” between 13 November 2019 – 4 January 2020. While the exhibition focuses on the concept of “groundlessness” that the artist deals with, we made an interview on the subject and characters she touched on in this context.
- First of all, could you tell us about yourself and your education?
I settled in Izmir for university and with my undergraduate education, I lived in Izmir for a long time. I moved to Istanbul in September 2019. I graduated from Dokuz Eylül Fine Arts Painting Department and completed my master’s degree in Art and Design at the same university.
- In general, how do your works emerge and what is the main idea behind them?
My work is the result of long reading, research, and gathering process. I take references from too many things while constructing my creations, creating materials and visuals. At the core of my work are the concepts of good-bad, right-wrong, guilty-innocent, which change shape according to the political atmosphere of the countries.
- You mostly include materials such as tree-bark and tree leaves in your work. What is the main reason for choosing these materials? Can you talk about the formation of this artistic practice?
The changes in my material choices first emerged with the “İsimsiz (Untitled)” series that I started in 2014. The series included portraits of people who left a mark on history with their works. As time passed, the things these figures made had changed from good to bad or bad to good , so the material had to be wood and round. Events continued to live through the years, and this transformation was universal. While the fact that the tree is alive and my perspective on events support each other, recently, as the concept of groundlessness has begun to form a basis in my work, I decided to include fragile, temporary, detached parts such as bark and leaves.
- In Büyükdere35, your first personal exhibition called “Aynı Gökyüzü (The Same Sky)” was opened. Can you talk about how the conceptual framework of the exhibition was formed? What is the link between the works in the exhibition?
As I mentioned before, since 2014, I have been focusing on the way the notes were written down in history and the changing shape of the notes according to the political atmosphere of that period. My conceptual framework for the exhibition was that this situation was so universal and the periods changed but events never changed. The integrity I wanted to create in the exhibition was the instinct to survive and resist by living different experiences under the same sky.
- You mostly include events that happened in your work, and these are the experiences of women in general. What kind of relationship do you establish with these people you have chosen? / How do you choose these events?
I am not particularly interested in female characters, although I approach the subject from a more universal point of view, somehow I find myself researching their lives. If the characters I have chosen are not anonymous, I establish a bond with them while I research their lives. I read and research their lives so much that at the end of the day I ask myself what I would do if I was in her place or would I dare to do what she did. When I choose the characters, I focus on what happened to them, for what and how they were fighting. The ways they choose may not always be the ones I find right, but they remind me that I should consider alternatives. I think I get too close to my work.
- In the exhibition, between the works of “Ahed” and “Filistinli Kız” (Palestinian Girl), it reads “Bir Çocuktan Suçlu Yarattınız…” (“You Created a Criminal From a Child …”). Can you talk about the starting point and application method of this sentence?
The “Ahed” and “Filistinli Kız (Palestinian Girl)” works in the exhibition are actually part of each other. The “Ahed” and “Filistinli Kız (Palestinian Girl)” works in the exhibition are actually part of each other. The phrase “You Made a Criminal from a Child …” reminds me of the letter Rakel Dink wrote after Hrant Dink’s death and it takes its reference from there. That’s why I wanted to add the sentence to reveal the bond between them. In the letter; “Regardless of age; 17 or 27, whoever the killer was, I know they were once babies. Nothing can be done without questioning the darkness that creates a killer from a baby, brothers… ”it says. I added this sentence because I want to emphasize that we live in a world where everybody can be guilty at any moment due to the change in the political language of the state authorities according to the periods and that a child who transforms into an activist as a result of his struggle for his family and people and as reason gets arrested and made into a criminal. I wrote the sentence by engraving the boy Ahed and stamping it on the wall.
- Can you tell us about the positive or negative feedback you received from your first solo exhibition?
During the period I was preparing my exhibition, I shared with my family and close friends what I was doing, what I read, and what I thought, and they shared their ideas with me at every opportunity. I created the exhibition with the feedback I got. But unfortunately, there is no way to get any positive or negative feedback after exhibitions in our country.
- Finally, are there any other projects you plan to do in the near future?
Since it is the first exhibition I have seen all of my works together, I think about how I can express myself better in my new paintings. It would not be right to call this a new project. This exhibition has been the fruit of a long wait for me, now I will read and research more.
Thanks for the interview.
Photograph: Kayhan Kaygusuz