YOU NAME IT
by GÜL ILGAZ, NANCY ATAKAN, AYÇA CEYLAN
BE Contemporary Art Gallery brings together three women artists from different generations; Nancy Atakan, Ayça Ceylan and Gül Ilgaz with their video works which question female identity, The exhibition "You Name It" is organized as part of SENKRON, synchronized video art exhibitions, in which reputable art institutions exhibit video art at the same time period across Turkey .
“You Name It” exhibition invites the audience to think about the given definitions of women’s identity, prejudices, pressures on women’s freedom of expression, and the roles that culture assigns to identity. The exhibition focuses on cultural elements such as coffee fortune telling, dresses, crafts, make-up, weaving, and evil eye beads that are identified with womanhood. With the title of the exhibition “You Name It”, the exhibition aims to actively involve the audience in thought processes including questioning, defining, and eventually naming the position of women in the socio-cultural structure of Turkey.
In Gül Ilgaz’s video work titled “Fortune Telling” (2011); female figures are placed as subjects in the cup of coffee from which the fortune will be told and the video is accompanied by a narrative compiled from Oruç Aruoba text; “Your life will be the process of watching yourself. You will only be a spectator…” and underlines that the control is sometimes far and not from the person. In the video work “Farewell” (2020), the artist cuts the strings holding a white dress hanged to the ceiling and floor. The dress falls on the floor and reflects a feeling of fall as well as salvation and liberation.
Nancy Atakan’s video work “Attributed” (2016), in collaboration with Pi Artworks Istanbul, while watching two women in the dark who have the opportunity to express themselves with only handcrafting, it is noticed that they are stitching “emergency” on embroidery frames in their hands. In the artist’s other video work in the exhibition, “I am not who you say I am” (2009), the artist confronts during her make-up in front of the mirror that neither her mother nor her childhood or the birth or adopted country and even her reflection in the mirror doesn’t define her.
In Ayça Ceylan’s video work “My Inner Garden (Cotton)”, the recording of performative site-specific installation, based on the local story of the Antalya Yarn and Cotton Weaving Factory, the video re-reads the relationship between women and nature through cotton from an ecofeminist perspective. In the performance document “You Are My Angel” (2018), the artist shares a process in which the viewer turns into a participant in the ritual space the artist built through the evil eye and mirrors, and the woman/man inside us embarks on a journey independent of time and space. “Who am I? What do I desire?” It invites the audience to explore their inner-city during identity construction.