Artist of the main project
Artist of the main project

Cansu Çakar, 1988

Exhibition at the Optical and Mechanical Plant features artworks:

supported by SAHA

Wash Your Sins Before Your Face (2019)

Watercolor, gouache, ink and gold on paper, 70 × 70 cm. Courtesy of Ayşe Umur

“Nipson anomemata mi monan opsin” “ΝΙΨΟΝΑΝΟΜΗΜΑΤΑΜΗΜΟΝΑΝΟΨΙΝ” is a palindrome, succinct phrase by theologian philosopher Gregory Nazianzen who lived in the 4th century. In addition to the sacred fountain mosaic at the entrance of the Hagia Sophia Church, the phrase is located on the walls of various Orthodox churches around the world. Considering the centuries-defying stance of Hagia Sophia and the strong values ​​it symbolizes, it is a sentence that is deeply related to the resistance.

Consolation Stone (2021)

Watercolor, ink and gold on paper, 41.5 × 60 cm. Courtesy of Art Sümer

Consolation Stone refers to a long tradition in the Ottoman Empire from the 13th to the 20th centuries, associated with the specific concept of “sadaqah”, that is, giving alms in the name of Allah.

The practice of sadaqah was carried out by means of special cylindrical shaped stones with a deep indentation at the base for almsgiving. The length of the stone is too long to see what is on the upper part, and it is left in a size that an average arm can reach. So that it is not clear whether the person reaching the stone gives or receives money. Designed with a clear practical purpose, these stones usually were clear of any ornaments. Contrary to the description, the pictured stone is a charity stone with Istanbul ornaments. 

Kairos (2021, ongoing)

Process-based installation; drawing table, roll paper and drawing materials. Courtesy of the artist

Kairos wants to make a reference to the time being including all the possible opportunities that time offers. It will initially entice the audience to look at a blank piece of paper. As a continuation of the artistic research through a link between the works Wash Your Sins Before Your Face and Consolation Stone, Kairos manifests an articulation of an existing poem by Nazım Hikmet Ran, first explicitly modernist poet who spent a life between prison and exile because of his political thoughts and died in Moscow. The red ink refers to the dilemma of life and politics whereas the bird motifs from Ural mountains depict the voices to the potential sound of the poetic space that the piece creates in the ways which the audiences read in their own languages, mindsets and emotional clouds. The original commission as the Hagia Sofia trilogy includes Istanbul through a connection between a new production as post-scriptum on the process of exhibition making.

Cansu Çakar is an artist living in İzmir. She investigates traditional art forms such as decorative drawing and illumination and integrates these traditions with contemporary art practices and topics. Thus she articulates her wish to free traditional forms of expression from their stereotypical classification. Her drawings and paintings, together with the concepts, she explores in her workshops, critically question the typical male-dominated subjects of traditional miniature painting. Additionally, they call into question the traditional classification of this art form and its conservatism. Çakar draws a line between what it means to be a woman or a prisoner in an oppressive society and the aesthetics of traditional arts in our contemporary art world. Both share the struggle against conservatism and the ensuing fight for emancipation.

Among her projects and exhibitions are BB11 – 11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, The Crack Begins Within, KW, (Berlin, 2020) Miniature 2.0, Pera Museum, (İstanbul, 2020) Replica of the Origin, SALT Beyoğlu, (İstanbul, 2019) The Crime of Mr. Adolf Loos, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, (Antwerp, 2019) Ashkal Alwan - Home Workspace Program (Beirut, 2018/19) Cappadox Contemporary Art Program, (Cappadocia, 2018) House of Wisdom- DZIALDOV (Berlin, 2017) IKSV Building (Public program of the 15th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, 2017) and Framer Framed (Amsterdam, 2017), Bonington Gallery,(Nottingham, 2018) Freundschaftsspiel: Istanbul, Freiburg: Ayşe Umur / Agah Uğur collections: Museum für Neue Kunst, (Freiburg, 2016) Linear Transcendency” at the Lab- Darat al Funun, (Amman, 2016) SALT WATER: A Theory of Thought Forms. 14th Istanbul Biennial- 100°- FLO, (İstanbul, 2015).

Cansu Çakar, 1988