19.10.2023 - 02.12.2023
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Labirent Sanat is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of Nermin Ülker, titled "Corners of the Circle". "Corners of the Circle" exhibition, which can be seen at Labirent Sanat between 19th October – 2nd December, focuses on the artist's recent works, in which she questions her existential and experiential relationships with the place(s) where she was born, lived, produced, bonded and identified with, through the internal-external dialect.
Besides the functional purpose of space, which traditionally provides shelter against the climate and others, it also has another original beginning: Space mediates between the menacing magnitude of the world, the infinity of the universe, and time. This is the cognitive and intellectual origin of the space. Since its beginning, physical space has mediated between humans and the world, gods, and mortals, bringing predictable order, and meaning to human existence.
Space, as Heidegger’s words, is expressed through identifiable components, spatiality is interpreted as a multicomponent ambiguous concept that transcendents geometry and measurability. Spatiality, as a lived space, includes the individual's sense of belonging, subjectivity, past, and future. Human existence is becoming completed in (spatial) linear time in the world. While the experience of space, which begins in the water in the womb and continues with the hospital where we were born, house, dormitory, and school we grew up in, permeates our entire lives and attitudes and forms us, we also form it.
With the capacity of our mind, senses, and imagination, we are in connection with the entire world, even the universe, of which we are conscious. We are not subjects observing the world we exist in from outside, but we are a part of the world's exchange network, we are the flesh of the world. Merleau-Ponty describes the way humans exist in the world with a beautiful analogy: “Just as the heart is inside the organism, our body is inside the world; it keeps the existential exhibition alive, gives it life, maintains it internally and constitutes a system with it.” Because we are participants in all the sensory complexity of space and time, we cannot perceive a landscape from the outside as a visual image, nor do we feel as though we are in a visual space. As Virginia Woolf famously said: “When you get there, it isn't there.” In such experiences, all our senses merge and cohere, including the consciousness of our body and its interior, our emotions, and our moods. In the fusion of space and soul, the soul is the bearer of the space as much as the space is the bearer of the soul.
We also experience such existential states of interiority or exteriority situations in our living and working spaces. Most of the time our imagination becomes involved as supplementary towards the boundedness of our senses and perception. We perceive the sides and directions of things facing us, but we may not be able to grasp the whole of that thing or observe its changes over time without turning around it or taking a distance. While in her exhibition “Corners of a Circle” Nermin Ülker positions her three-dimensional works in the space, by confronting us with this tension between experiential edges that we do not pay much attention to in everyday life; she invites us to think about the works on the axis of concepts such as inside-outside, objective-subjective, near-far through our journey.
Starting from the idea that Merleau-Ponty's, and Cezanne's paintings try to make visible how the world touches us, we witness how spatial space slips under our feet and that we cannot notice as we pass through and outside in the rush of daily life, turns into a poetic language that is verticalized by being torn from the plane or ground, bent-twisted, extended-pulled and mediates our spatial existence in Nermin Ülker’s works. In this entire process of generation and mutual becoming, the artist’s bodily movements during her intervention in the material reveal themselves in the work. The process of giving meaning to existence through the artist's creation is like the rope that Ariadne handed Theseus to help her escape the labyrinth.
Space has a decisive role in Nermin Ülker's artistic production process. This choice is not a coincidence when we look at her life and thought system. We can easily conclude that this transparency was established not through the artist's personal life or stories, but directly through her works and the names she called them.
“Either to take root, to find own roots, to shape own roots, to pull own place out of the void, to build, to plant, to appropriate, millimeter by millimeter, “home” (…)
Or not owning anything other than the clothes you are wearing, not keeping anything, living in a hotel, and changing hotels frequently, changing cities, changing countries, (…) not feeling at home anywhere but feeling at home almost everywhere.”
Nermin Ülker's relationship with space, instead of choosing one of the opposite existential attitudes presented by Perec with the either-or conjunction; is open to the togetherness, inclusiveness, and experience of 'both' and 'also'.
In his book Poetics of Space, Bachelard says that the biggest difficulty he tried to overcome when writing the Phenomenology of the Circle chapter was to move away from any geometric precision. The decisive idea behind the name of the exhibition is "Corners of the Circle", the aim was to distance the viewer/reader from the realm of preconceptions, definitive attitudes, and the absolute, and to make a corner possible where one could dive into one's inner immensity within the exhibition. Heidegger calls these boundaries, which are the source of our interpretations learned throughout the world experience, the horizon of understanding. Being is beyond the horizon of understanding. It is something to be experienced, not to be explained and understood.
You can visit Nermin Ülker’s exhibition titled "Corners of the Circle" at Labirent Sanat until December 2nd, 2023.
 A circle has corners as much as I find.
If I stay here, they will call me a "researcher".
A circle has corners as much as I do not know.
If I resist and stay where I can find them, they will call me "unhappy".
 Georges Perec, “Species of Spaces and Other Pieces”, (Turkish: Ayberk Erkay), Everest Publications, İstanbul-June 2020, p.112.