In this photographic series, Altın worked in collaboration with local dancers to generate a series of gestural phrases, positioning individuals at sites across the city centre. Captured against time-worn urban geometries and imperfect grid structures such as security bars and cubic stone pavers, the models’ staged postures form abstract choreographies of resistance and exhaustion.
Works such as ‘Untitled (parmaklik)’ and ‘Untitled (grid or balance)’ present figures that mimic the built environment and similarly, environments that appear to repeat the pose of the figures they frame. While focussing on the positioning of the hands, Altın’s choreographies differ sharply from the modernist compositions of Yvonne Rainer, Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica in their activations of found forms.
A number of the images operate in pairs, the angle of the model’s arms and fingers varying slightly from image to image. This subtle cubist inflection is not an animating device so much as a method of instilling the somewhat pictographic figures with an added depth, an operation extending from the artist’s 2013 collages in which two photographs of the same subject are overlaid.’ ‘The pairing of works echoes the informal layouts within the artist’s photobooks and the graphic aesthetic of the series is highlighted in the installation of ‘Untitled (grid or balance)’ against a bright red wall.
Shown alongside these photographic works are a number of collages in which printed images sourced locally adorn inked silk and gauze compositions, or are covered by wrinkly inked paper. Placing photographic subjects and the tones and textures of their wide-ranging substrates on an equal footing, they echo Altın’s previous investigations in which the mask becomes a proxy for the face. In ‘Imprint (becoming)’ for instance, images showing one hand shaping a clay ball while another holds a sculpture are attached to a watery dyed silk and gauze surface.
‘Give sorrow words (monologue)’ incorporates newspaper clippings showing the lifeless bodies of a woman and an elephant, obscuring the captions of this highly-charged imagery and placing it into conversation with the other works in the series. This mediation of the clear-cut body language and gesturing native to press imagery and stock photography speaks to the function of the series as a whole. In its arrangements of figure and material, gesture and form, this site-responsive body of work activates worn urban structures and textured surfaces in a choreography of escape.
Özlem Altın (b. 1977, Goch) is an artist living and working in Berlin. She received her MA in Fine Art from Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam and her BA in Fine Art from Hoogeschool voor de Kunsten, Arnhem. Selected solo exhibitions include Camera Austria, Graz, 2016; Circus, Berlin, 2016; Kiria Koula, San Francisco, 2015; Circus, Berlin, 2013; Günther–Peill–Stiftung / Leopold–Hoesch–Museum, Düren, 2012; Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples, 2010; Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem, 2008. Recent group shows include Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz, 2016; Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2015; Carlier Gebauer, Berlin; 2015; SpazioA, Pistoia, 2014; Nesrin Esirtgen Collection Art Space, Istanbul, 2014; Aleksander Bruno, Warsaw, 2014; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 2013; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, 2013; Balice Hertling, Paris, 2013; SVIT, Prague, 2012; Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, Siegen, 2012; Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona, 2012; Kunst im Tunnel, Dusseldorf, 2011; David Roberts Art Foundation, London, 2011; Wiels, Brussels, 2010; NOMAS Foundation at ROMA Contemporary Art Fair, 2010.
Give sorrow words (monologue), 2014
collage, ink and paper on gauze, on stretcher
81 x 81 cm
Imprint (becoming), 2014
collage and ink on silk and gauze, on stretcher
51 x 51 cm