Kunsthalle Friart presents an exhibition of works by artist Ceylan Öztrük

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Kunsthalle Friart presents an exhibition of works by artist Ceylan Öztrük
Exhibition view, Ceylan Öztrük, Matter of non, Kunsthalle Friart Fribourg, 2021, Courtesy of Kunsthalle Friart Fribourg.

FRIBOURG.- Friart presents an important exhibition by the Swiss-based Turkish artist Ceylan Öztrük. At the base of Öztrük’s work is a fundamental reflection on the very possibility of sculpture, which is never assumed to be self-evident. In Matter of non, the artist deals with the poetic expression of matter’s in/determinate origin. The show presents itself as a series of spatial aphorisms (about the relationship between existence and death) that simultaneously fulfill and relieve each other. Inspired by quantum physics as much as by psychoanalysis, Matter of non is an attempt to integrate matter into its non/existent matrix. In this address, the body —a central referent in the history of sculpture normally divided between language and flesh—must yield to the vertigo of the inhuman.

The exhibition is accompanied by a prose text written by Ceylan Öztrük, which collects clues in a narrative space of its own. Finding its diffracted way through language and matter, spacing, as an idea and a practice, works allegorically

Ceylan Öztrük’s exhibition is the final stage of a reflection undertaken by the artist on how to relocate some of the narrative challenges of contemporary sculpture. It has been constructed like a series of spatial aphorisms that direct visitor perceptions away from the materiality of works and towards a fundamental absence that is however impossible to describe. The body, images, objective knowledge and technique are just so many constructed references, produced out of a nothingness that Matter of Non takes as its matrix.

Although almost absent or confused with the architecture and design of the art space, sculpture does nevertheless provide a template, an abstract introduction, a marker that enables the questioning of exhibition practice and also a proposition for a renewed existential relationship with creation. In the exhibition, the clinical forces of objectivation that surround the body, short-circuit those of subjective aesthetic perception. They come together in the power of an abstract light without any of them offering a stable solution, as if, in the end, they shared a same spatial regime of impasse.

Matter of Non is a work of visual art, but a prose text is also presented by the artist in parallel to the creative process in the exhibition space. This fictional narrative, which can be read after the exhibition, circles back on it, contains certain keys and informs us how in earlier times, other protagonists engendered this functional space. Drafted at the same time as the gestation of the visual works, the text comes to divide the visitor’s experience in two and open a breach in our apprehension of the ensemble. This breach forms a non-place that cuts through the inter-crossing body of the space of the text and the architecture in which it takes place.

The account generates space, without however preceding it. The addition of a text as part of this exhibition situation is not however an mind game because it does not respect any particular logic. The resemblance of the account to the exhibition is like the memory of a bad experience that cannot take place, that neither the scientific mastery of space, nor direct perception can encompass.

Ceylan Öztrük’s proposition invites us to develop an alternative intuition that relegates the material and sensory composite of the body to an empty and creative source out of which any existing matter is considered only as engendered from nothing. Contemporary sculpture is thus detached from positions that consist in creating a symbol out of the management of space, justifying occupation in a representation that draws on an external identity. The artist engages in an artistic existentialism that negates the exhibition formula but which also creates a critical update. In the cemetery of the white cube, the visceral chiasmus of the flesh reminds us that nothing engenders.

Ceylan Öztrük is an artist who lives and works in Zürich. She completed her practice-based PhD (2016) in Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University (Istanbul) that she initiated her subject in Vienna in Academy of Fine Arts on Post Conceptual Art Practices in 2014.

Some of her exhibitions and performances are Orientalien, Gessnerallee Theatre, Zürich (2020); Am a Mollusk, too; re/producing Tangents, Longtang, Zürich (2020), IV. Berliner Herbstsalon, Berlin (2019); Oriental Demo, My Wild Flag Festival, Stockholm (2019), Building Poems, 1.1, Basel (2018); Speculative Domestics: Ai (Artificial Intimacy) Showroom, Alienze, Lausanne, Switzerland (2019); Call me Venus, Mars, Istanbul (2016).

Ceylan Öztrük opens up accepted forms of knowledge and focuses on how it was built to shift a specific flow and thus become tools of the structures of power. She aims to break the flow of information in the mainstream with a multi-disciplinary approach, offering to setup new channels that co-exist with and sometimes replace the existing ones. She creates Autotheory and employs interventions in her practice as a methodology with which she tries to transform existing situations and frameworks.

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