Mythos and Utopia

28 Feb — 22 Apr 2017 at the Zilberman Gallery in Istanbul, Turkey

Mythos and Utopia, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Zilberman Gallery
Mythos and Utopia, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Zilberman Gallery
29 MAR 2017

The title of the exhibition is derived from the description of Istanbul in Ekrem Işın’s book titled Everyday Life in Istanbul. Following Cabinet of Curiosities in 2011 and A Carriage Affair in 2014, Mythos and Utopia is the last chapter in the exhibition series that the artist has realized with Zilberman Gallery. In this chapter she looks back at the city’s history as well as that of ceramic materials and blends memory and material to construct a new scenery. Now settled in İstanbul after having lived in Ankara and New York, the artist brings together the pieces of the past eons of a city caught between “mythos of the East and the utopia of the West”.

Bingöl’s interest and research on history began with the novel A Carrige Affair by Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem, after which her 2014 exhibition was titled. This interest outlines the characteristics of Mythos and Utopia. The artist traces the city and its creative history in order to construct alternative ways of relating herself through re-thinking form and tradition.

After pushing the meaning of “making ceramics” with the work Cruise, a ceramic copy of a life-size truck, Bingöl is now focusing on the idea of “not making ceramics” but re-thinking what had been made in the region previously. She appropriates fragments and forms that have strong local connotations of tradition and material, and translates them into a web of interactions, a repertoire of forms, and images.

Mythos and Utopia deconstructs the existing relationships and associations built around the city and the materials. It creates an experimental scenery in which decorative fragments, objects and time overlap and become interlaced.

Through repetition and time, image and object begin to reflect one another. While a site-specific clay application from an Iznik tile panel from the Topkapi Palace comes apart and is resurrected on the walls of the gallery, traditional ceramic forms suggest and adopt new forms –and non-forms– to create a unique diorama. Mythos and Utopia traces a cultural heritage. By following the relics, it searches for a way to meet the self. It scrutinizes form and image by zooming in to the very essence of its components to create an integrated whole.

Mythos and Utopia is accompanied by a catalogue, with texts by Kevin Jones and Ekrem Işın. Burçak Bingöl (1976, Görele, Turkey) Some of her solo presentations and exhibitions: A Carriage Affair (Zilberman Gallery and Art Basel, Hong Kong 2014); Feeling the Blanks (New York, 2009); Attention! Fragile (Ankara, 2008). Group exhibitions: ON (Baksı Museum, Bayburt, 2015) and Stay With Me! (Apartment Project, Berlin, 2014). She has organized exhibitions at the Ankara-Goethe Institute and Cda-Projects (now Zilberman Gallery) as a curator. Her works are included in the collections of The Metropolitan Art Museum (New York, USA), 21st Century Museum (Kentucky, USA), Baksı Museum (Bayburt,TR) and Salsali Private Museum (Dubai, UAE) as well as private collections in Europe, The USA, and The Middle East. She lives and works in Istanbul.