press release

10.02.2023 - 18.03.2023

Burçak Bingöl
Sophie Calle
Gül Ilgaz
Ayça Telgeren
'A Momentary Absence'

Elâ Atakan

‘A Momentary Absence’ is the feeling left behind by a sudden disappearance. It is the story of getting lost in the indeterminacy of a possible reappearance, of incompleteness, of things or people not existing where they should. Something existed a moment ago, but now, in this moment, it does not. An ambiguous space that opens up in the void, on the verge of presence. A beat felt only in the heart, intangible, invisible. A river of meaning where four women artists offer four poetic narratives, confronting us with the evolution of absence.

Galerist is proud to present the group exhibition ‘A Momentary Absence’, curated by Elâ Atakan, featuring works by Burçak Bingöl, Sophie Calle, Gül Ilgaz and Ayça Telgeren, from February 10 to March 18, 2023.

This exhibition is an answer that points out how we cope with unexpected loss in the face of reality, that shows what we transform the substance of absence into. It is an individual, and as such, social narrative.

Burçak Bingöl’s works in the exhibition point to the constantly changing faces of Istanbul, tracing the untold history of a distant past, and glazing these traces on broken ceramic shards. The story of the works that bring together various media such as photographs and ceramic pieces began with the sudden explosion of the work in the kiln as the artist was waiting next to it. The artist chose to make each broken shard blossom. The fragile flowers titled Flawless Flow extend outwards from the walls, turning the exhibition space into a garden as they scatter around. They exist in a subtle balance, evoking the feeling of sprouting, of being born at the site of disappearance, like the scattering of seeds, while at the same time hinting to the shooting of shrapnel with their sharp edges.

The concept of absence lies at the heart of the work of Sophie Calle, who often reflects her separations, the loss of her loved ones with her idiosyncratic language in her work. In 1984, Calle travels to Japan for a three-month stay with a scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She and her lover promise each other to meet in Delhi, India at the end of this period, but her lover does not arrive. Calle describes the pain she experienced as the most painful of her life at the time. Then she begins to ask the people around her: “when have you suffered the most?” In the face of the reality of other people’s pain, Calle rewrites her own story every day for three months. Day by day, her pain begins to subside, wash away and disappear. Calle was only able to tell this story fifteen years after experiencing it. As we view the works in the exhibition from the series titled Exquisite Pain, we wander the various depths of pain, while witnessing the intensity, and then the gradual disappearance of the pain of love.

In Gül Ilgaz’s works, absence is a space. In the video titled Storm, the window represents a barely discernible boundary with its transparency. It separates the inside of the house from the outside like a diaphragm, and as darkness descends, the narrative at the beginning turns inverse, to the inside. The invisible becomes visible, and the visible invisible. In her photographs, Ilgaz often engulfs vision in mist, leaving presence in a most ambiguous space. In the sound installation titled What Remains, she speaks of the old furniture in the house where she spent her childhood, which is now completely empty, and her memories with it as if they have been lived moments ago.

Ayça Telgeren's concrete and paper cut works in the exhibition relate to Caucasian mythology. These works are part of the series titled Geography, which is based on the artist's personal history. Dreamer, which bears the profile of Caucasian mountains, is reminiscent of the body of a woman lying, and refers to the hundreds of languages that have been spoken in these mountains, which have now been forgotten, and therefore, hundreds of cultures, as well as evoking the momentary absence inherent to sleep. In the work titled Qaf, which is reminiscent of a landscape, Telgeren buries the position of the women in her family that she knows from photographs inside this mountain, re-weaving her own story. Flesh Mirror, according to the artist, is a healing bowl; it represents a pregnant belly that does not bear a baby, but has many stories to tell the water, which will heal itself and others as they are told. In the works of Telgeren, absence represents a deep presence, an answer to all that has gone untold in the past.

‘A Momentary Absence’ concerns itself with the different approaches of four women artists, with the representation of that which replaces absence, and with the existence of the absent. Burçak Bingöl lays claim to the power of coping with annihilation through fragility, while Sophie Calle, facing the reality of the stories of others, heals her discomfort with the absence of what she desires. Striking a subtle balance between presence and absence, Gül Ilgaz expresses memories and narratives through the concepts of inside and outside, and Ayça Telgeren relates untold stories of the histories of the women in her family