ISTANBUL.- Galeri Zilberman
is showing İpek Duben's solo show, titled 2012. The works in the exhibition are the most recent manifestations of an engagement with the female figure to reflect on the relationship between individual and society, which Duben has worked on since the 1980s with series such as Sherife (1981), Traces (1981), Register (1992) and Manuscript 1994.
İpek Duben, a pioneer of research-based, socially engaged artistic practice with a feminist perspective, has been exploring issues of identity shaped by her experience of living in Turkey and the United States. Duben articulates a unique and layered artistic language in painting through an epistemological and ontological approach to the issues between westernization and tradition. The works in 2012 lead to a new path that open up a meditative space concerning human condition. The figure emerges as a temporal subject which is perpetually reconstructed in an instinctive and existential negotiation. Duben's use of the artist book format in many of her works suggests to view the paintings in the show as pages of a giant book, which construct their own architecture with the use of iron beams that support the layered surfaces while they impose a sense of permanence.
In the 2012 series, Duben's own body becomes a flat, pattern-like anonymous figure that is devoid of anatomical details and autobiographic references. On a background of abstract gestural brush strokes, the repeated image of the body with hands over the chest evokes submission and suggests a "universal" human subject, which references different moments in history all at once.
The female figure, which İpek Duben has investigated in various ways throughout the last thirty years, becomes a plural subject embodying multiple temporalities as in cinematic montage and guiding the way in an archaeological excavation into the depths of consciousness in the 2012 series.
Born in İstanbul, İpek Duben studied art at New York Studio School, Chicago University (MA) and Mimar Sinan University (PhD). She has many solo shows and participated in international group shows including Akademie der Kunst, Berlin; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and ZKM, Karlsruhe. In her retrospective, İpek Duben: A Selection 1994-2009, she exhibited her multi-media installations from the last fifteen years at Akbank Sanat, Istanbul. She has published extensively on history of art in Turkey. She has works in collections including British Museum, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Istanbul Modern and Wien Museum.