ARTIST STATEMENT

2018


My art practice’s central motivation is to investigate the different ways to grasp, uncover and build social, psychological, historical, connections between the manifestations of innermost human desires and fears and then to visually evoke them. This is accompanied by a will to make the viewer question stereotypes and preconceptions about socially constructed identities, gender roles, power struggles and how these are manipulated. Photography has also been the medium through which I have been exploring myself, digging out my own fears, desires, intentions and concerns. In a way, my practice allows me to face my inner conflicts and attempt to make peace with my own gender role and identity.

As my body of work would demonstrate, my personal obsession is about our common human nature, different kinds of relationships we build and how we choose to represent ourselves, whether consciously or unconsciously. I’m deeply interested in researching, digging into the human psyché and explore beyond the assumptions, a method I used, among others, to produce my project Full Contact (2012) about the similarity of the body’s use regarding Muay Thai fighters and sexual service providers. On the other hand my series Fight-Flight-Freeze (2013) investigated the social, psychological and gender identity of people practicing martial arts regarding the socially constructed fighter archetypes. On a personal level, it displayed fight as a metaphor of a process of self-discovery and acknowledgment, the facing and overcoming intrinsic fears, coming to terms with self-harming impulses and persisting body-image issues: “You’re going to get hit. It’s about getting hit on your own terms.” My latest — and most optimist — series to date, Wish Tree (2015) was initiated during my first trip to Japan in 2014 following a disheartening one and a half year after the end of the radiant Gezi Protests, marking the beginning of an oppressive regime in Turkey. The Wish Tree, whose title refers to wish-bearing totems found in almost any culture throughout history, aims to bring together rituals, traditions, beliefs, circumstances and faces from different parts of the world by juxtaposing images captured in various countries such as Turkey, Japan, Malaysia, Denmark, Sweden, France and Portugal.

On a more sombre note, I also believe that the act of taking and displaying photographs is, in most cases, similar to laying out the dirty laundry. In one of my favourite photographers Nobuyoshi Araki’s words: “Well, it’s a tricky occupation. After all, what you’re doing is betraying people by releasing the shutter. You really are. It’s not all like this, but this certainly is one side of the photographer’s job.” I am driven by the will to use this power of representation carefully and revert this hierarchy by laying out my own dirty laundry at the same time. In this regard, self-portraits are a very crucial part of each series, evolving from basic self-expression, exploration of my own sexuality and identity, to direct confrontation with the viewer and to role-playing opportunities. Simultaneously it underlines that the work is the result of my own experience and its subjectivity, positioning the works away from the traditional documentary approach and allowing for a kind of subjective documentary.

Over the years my practice has been allowing me to open up to the world and gain more understanding, knowledge and acknowledgment about the human nature and about myself . In exchange, I hope to keep giving back and provide others with what we seem to need the most; the acknowledgment of the self.

 

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