The word kharaktêr, derived from the Ancient Greek verb kharassein meaning to engrave/to brand/to etch, was used to mean “branding iron”, “engraved mark”, “imprint”, or “trace”. In addition to more concrete meanings such as “symbol”, “letter” or “style of writing”, the word has assumed more symbolic meanings such as “the whole of distinguishing, defining features,” “a being involved in the action of a story,” or “a unique or extraordinary individual”.
What enables character to emerge like a mark, or an imprint, and renders it legible is the repetition of habits and behaviour and comparisons made with the habits and behaviour of others. In this sense, the exhibition presents a praxis of thought on individually unique patterns and characters that are rendered visible by their social background.
The two books by Sevgi Aka in the exhibition, “15.11.11” and “13.3.13,” include the alphabetically ordered list of words the artist used throughout two different days in two different places, in two different languages. Becoming part of different systems through her use of different languages, the artist’s choice of words present a means to observe the fluidity of character via the subjectivity and anonymity of language.
In moments he selects from the everyday life of white-collar workers in “Ring I and II,” Bora Başkan focuses on the decisive nature of time and space. According to Başkan, “the individual’s character demands to be perceived as a monolithic whole. However, the more character strives to protect its singularity, the more the space slips away from under the individual’s feet. And time becomes a ring surrounding him or her.”
Murat Durusoy’s series Portraits for Not Forgetting features images captured from television of some of the main characters of landmark social events in our recent history. Manipulated, dreamlike images urge us to recall events that have caused social trauma, revealing the character of the society we live in.
Şer-Paz is a company where Fatma Belkıs and Onur Gökmen reproduce the artist’s role by employing the similarities between the establishment of a “corporation” and artistic production. Company as Nose as Company is a project the artists have been working on since they founded Şer-Paz in 2012. The owners of the noses that come out of the sacks Şer-Paz sends abroad as part of a so-called ‘fictitious export’ scheme, according to the artists, “define the entrepreneur who wants to put his or her signature to his or her work.”
In her work titled “Sketch,” Merve Ertufan questions the reliability of our processes of perception and assessment regarding other people. The artist asks illustrator Gökhan Okur to produce an illustration of her. The recording of the sketching session reveals the states generated by extended durations spent in the position of observer-observed and portrayer-portrayed. As the session progresses with unusual comments such as “you have a very flowing face, all the lines flow into each other and disappear,” it reflects the dynamics of moments of perception and recording that take place within seconds in everyday life.
In her work titled “Fill in the Blanks,” Sibel Horada removes four main female characters from the famous paintings they lent their name to, and therefore also from the gaze of the viewer. Reproduced as postcards, the paintings continue to be disseminated, thus a simple gesture allows us to explore the notion of representation in memory.
Reysi Kamhi departs from Schopenhauer’s dictum, “In every kind of enjoyment, […] the pleasure depends principally upon the man himself,” to treat character as a state of condemnation. In her paintings from the series “Temporality” and “Vanitas,” the artist depicts her own character with transitions between landscapes imprisoned by natural objects and forms like crystals and stones which take shape over thousands of years, and abstract sky images.
This exhibition was inspired by Komet’s assemblage-sculpture titled “States of Becoming a Bird.” By its humble presence, this absurd character, made out of three small ready-mades and a roll of string, gently expresses all that we endure in silence in the increasingly absurd world we live in.
In her series titled “*,” Aslı Narin photographs the beauty spots on her body, and matches them with an astrological chart. As the beauty marks constantly increase in number, they shape the body like the stars that determine character.
Elif Süsler’s video-collage titled “Sincerity” is composed of the brief pauses to breathe of presenters or guests on news programmes, talk shows, reality shows or similar TV programmes. In order to establish some form of contact with these people she sees on television, the artist looks for a sincere gesture. According to the artist, “these brief pauses to breathe, and random exclamations are the most sincere moments among the repetition of words and expressions.”
The forest appears as a recurring theme in Tuba Yalçınkaya’s drawings and could be perceived as a projection of her mental landscape; however, in her work titled “Woods II” in this exhibition, the forest is transformed into a threatening environment reflecting the character of the country we live in. The vortex on the earth surface of the forest, and the trees brandishing triangular flags, and firmly standing despite the pull of the vortex, provide clues regarding the character of the forest.