artist / participant


press release

"İnci Eviner Retrospective: Who's Inside You?", organized by Istanbul Modern, surveys Eviner's creative process from the 1980s to the 2010s. It displays her rich search for expression, ranging from drawings to paintings, video works to installations, photography to sculpture. Eviner’s artistic output is not arranged chronologically, but through a nonlinear positioning of past and recent works, and even incorporates the exhibition space itself.

Eviner is a pioneering artist who has been influential in the transformation of Turkish contemporary art, and who has developed a unique mode of expression regarding female identity in its collective, political, and sociocultural aspects. Investigating the historical, discursive, and unconscious narratives that influence our views of women starting at a young age, the artist defines womanhood not as encompassed by a single image but as a field of limitless imagination. Proceeding from the daily gestures of women of all ages, Eviner questions the modes of representation judged appropriate for them and the prohibitions that prevent the actualization of a woman’s fullest potential.

At the center of Eviner’s work is line drawing. Defining the point of departure of her practice as expressions made through lines, she builds and constantly enriches her world of images, strolling through a visual language of countless possibilities and borrowing from a wide range of sources: art historical allegories, iconographies, illustrations, mythologies, and contemporary ideograms and pictograms. Weaving together the violence at the heart of the beautiful, the potential of the repressed, and the unmatched creativity of the unconscious, her compositions appear simultaneously contemporary and timeless.

The exhibition brings together the most important works of Eviner’s career, including drawings inspired by the mentally ill at the Darülaceze Institution, which she visited during her education in the department of painting at Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts; paintings collected under the title “Geography”, which display the emergence of the artist’s own iconography, borrowing from sources such as old maps, medical illustrations, and more; the installations “Hold” and “Skinless”, for which she worked with leather in search of a new body; the series “Terra Incognito”, a deconstruction of the portrayal of women in twentieth-century visual culture; the video work “Harem”, created in dialogue with an eighteenth-century engraving by Antoine Ignace Melling and widely regarded as a masterpiece of contemporary video art; a critique of European border and cultural politics in the video pieces “Parliament” and “Broken Manifestos”; and the wall work “I DON’T BELONG HERE”, which she will be producing anew for the exhibition, based on her interest and research in the tradition of paper marbling, tackling the notion of tradition not in a repetitious way but striving to release its latent potential.

Curator: Levent Çalıkoğlu
Assistant Curator: Senem R. Kantarcı