Zilberman, a Turkish contemporary art gallery located in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district, will be presenting Elmas Deniz's first solo exhibition "Three Hues of Water" in its main gallery space until Feb. 21, 2020.
Deniz is a concept-driven artist who mostly focuses on the human-nature relationship. The viewers can easily follow the idea of nature throughout history and ecological concerns in her works. In her latest exhibition, the artist again draws attention to the human-nature relationship. She critically brings ecological problems into view. The exhibition philosophically examines the evil of humankind, the damage that people can cause and further points to different possibilities for a new value system.
Believing that we must refocus our attention on what we ignore, she thinks that our learned defects, such as not being able to hear a seed crack or not noticing the three distinct colors of a stream will cause our potential extinction; therefore, the artist searches for a remedy through the show.
"Three Hues of Water" is an extension of Deniz's works exhibited in the 16th Istanbul Biennial: The Seventh Continent. The biennial's theme "Seventh Continent" refers to the huge dump in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which is among the most visible consequences of the anthropogenic age of global warming. Called 'the Seventh Continent' in popular science, this mass consists of a dump of plastic located on an area of 3.4 square kilometers and weighing 7 million tons.
In her new exhibition, Deniz continues to unfold our relationship with nature with various types of installation works. The included works focus on the invisible history of this relationship and its trajectory, creating a personal, exemplary archive for people to grasp its place in our contemporary lives, shaping the future of the relationship.
In Deniz's "Eluding 'humans' (2019)" at the exhibition, visitors encounter animals that stay away from people, as if to protect themselves from man's wrath, in their natural habitats. These images are captured by sensor camera traps that were built to investigate the nocturnal animals. In "The Camera Trap of Inequalities" (2019), the artist also captures and then deletes the images of the visitors of the exhibition via a camera trap she constructed with a motion sensor. The accompanying legal text, outlining the legal issues that arise when photographing people, indicates the discrimination between people and other species.
Inspired by a game she played as a child, in her video work "About Soft Bodied Evils" (2019), the artist places thorns on our soft and harmless bodies. Accompanying the video, texts by Aristotle and Pilny the Elder from antiquity and a medieval anonymous text point to the historical trajectory of the relationship between humans and nature. Since prehistory, this relationship was shaped through the evil, hypocritical, arrogant, self-absorbed and cruel deeds of humankind, who ironically lack tusks or claws. With the help of the thorns that plants possess for self-defense, Deniz extricates the evilness and selfishness specific to humans from where they hide – under the softness of their bodies.
A new version of her installation "History of a particular nameless creek Insignificants" (2019), which was exhibited at the 16th Istanbul Biennial, "The Moment of Glimpse" (2019) displays the tiny organic and inorganic objects that the artist collected. By unearthing what is otherwise neglected, making it visible and even precious, through the giving of a gift of a portrait to the woodpecker recently spotted in Longoz forest after being thought as extinct for years, she exhibits her refusal to ignore what is politically removed from sight.
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