The history of thought is full of contradictions, dilemmas and predicaments of separation of mind and body. Maybe the most controversial of all is the mind-body dualism that argues mind and body are separable.
Somehow, within this belief, humankind discovers the relation between mind and matter or subject and object. We tend to believe that body and soul are separable facts that help us to exist. Many questions arise from this belief, such as whether the body has any instrumental role in the creation of the self, whether there is any forthright relation between body and soul and many more…
The exhibition “Show Me Color” at Istanbul’s Kasa Gallery, curated by Yekhan Pınarlıgil, is questioning this relation in a very delicate way. Artists Çınar Eslek and Marguerite Bornhauser and late artist Semiha Berksoy, an internationally acclaimed and significant figure in Turkey’s modern cultural history who passed away in 2004, are actors of this question. In each art piece, we see a way of self-discovery through the body, self, mind and soul. In a way, the curator asks us, do we always reflect what we have inside or vice versa.
The body is both a limit and a beginning for existence. In Eslek’s artworks, we see how the inner world of us reflects onto the outer world. Eslek uses pagan-like small sculptures to depict her way of seeing the self, opening a new way of understanding the body and the self. She believes the body is a way to leave traces on; the body is a place to keep shadows and instincts.
“I have tried to reflect a way of expressing primordial instincts via these pagan sculptures,” Eslek said. On the other hand, she tries to discover that beliefs and disbeliefs can change and how we internalize meta-narratives within these beliefs. Her way of understanding the existence of the body depends on traces of the inner self.
Each darkness and each reality we have is a reflection from the inner to the outer world. In the exhibition, Eslek uses cobweb to show the viewer how the inner traces reflect within shadows, while on the other hand, it is a way to discover how the shadows of the outer world are deceitful for many of us.
Another way of reflection and its question within reality is in Bornhauser’s photography works. Bornhauser uses light and shadows to denote her way of seeing the world. Layers, color and skin are the main elements we see in her works. She uses these elements in a dreamy discourse. Her photographs depict a vibrant and colorful interpretation of thought and body.
Curator also opens a new dimension by displaying Berksoy’s endless creative process by showing not only her portrait works but also a large canvas work with which Berksoy opens her inner world by writing and drawing. In these works, we see Berksoy using different languages and different styles of writings. Her usage of female body drawing and faces is raw. For her, it is not necessary to aestheticize the body or the face. The only vital thing is to show how to use the body and the face while connecting to the outer world.
Berksoy uses the body as an instrument to create and express herself. While she never separates body and soul from each other, she uses both of them as a vessel for her creative process. The works in the exhibition “Show Me Color” show us how she comes to express her creativity.
The name of the show emerges as a metaphor. It is about showing intention to get involved in something or to say something bluntly or letting someone in the inner world or disclosing a position. So, it is a revelation and coming forth with something and showing the reality of the inner self. Artists, on the other hand, use this metaphor by showing their understandings of body and soul and how this dualism is an inseparable fact of being and existence.
The exhibition can be seen until April 23.