September 10, 2017 - ARTER - CANAN: Behind Mount Qaf
September 10, 2017


CANAN, Women Bathing in Moonlight, 2017. HD video, 4:44 minutes.

Behind Mount Qaf
September 12–December 24, 2017

Preview: September 11, 11am–5pm
Opening: September 11, 5–8pm

Irmak Caddesi No: 13
Dolapdere Beyoğlu
34435 Istanbul

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Arter presents CANAN’s solo exhibition entitled Behind Mount Qaf between September 12 and December 24, 2017. The exhibition brings together new works of CANAN along with a number of earlier works. 

The exhibition is named after the legendary Mount Qaf of Arabic and Persian cosmology and includes works produced in various media, such as sculpture, photography, print, embroidery, video, installation, and miniature. CANAN’s new works focus on dualisms such as light/shadow, good/bad, internal/external, reality/imaginary, lightness/darkness, and tackle the repressed aspects of the human psyche in the form of supernatural creatures, the jinn and archetypical figures, culminating in a multidimensional, mystical, symbolic, and rather enticing universe.

The first of the many spatial installations in Behind Mount Qaf, Animal Kingdom (2017) is a site-specific work and is located on the ground floor of Arter. Covered in brightly coloured and sequined fabrics, animals, and creatures such as dragons, serpents, and the phoenix, all of which exist only in fairy tales, fill up the gallery space. Visible both from the outside through the gallery window and from within the exhibition space itself, this installation connects the interior and the exterior in a world of fantasy.

Another new work is a video titled Women Bathing in Moonlight (2017). In this video shot on a full moon night on one of the Prince Islands in Istanbul, a group of young women in summer dresses with flowers in their hair are first seen at the top of a hill, howling like wolves at the full moon. They then walk down to the seashore with joyous laughter and bathe in the sea. This mysterious almost archaic ritual constitutes a contrast with the cityscape in the background.

The work titled Heaven (2017) reaches down from the ceiling in the form of a cylinder made of tulle; rotating slowly around its own axis, it establishes links between the visible and the invisible, the real and the imaginary worlds, through a play of light and shadow. In the installation, as the male and female figures revolve in the cylinder accompanied by the seven colours of the rainbow and fairy tale-like creatures, the shadows of their naked bodies linger on the walls. The masculine and feminine qualities blend into one another, and as we approach them they start to intermingle with our shadows as well. Meanwhile, the installation Purgatory (2017) construes the same setup on Arter’s first floor; but this time through the theme of Purgatory. Dominated by various shades of grey, the tulle installation relates the tale of a character that flows out of the darkness in the company of birds and angels. The exhibition concludes with the installation Wonders of Creation (2017), which spreads across the entire second floor gallery. Here, the human figures disappear completely, as the jinn take over the stage. This hell, in which jinn figures drawn with fluorescent paints on tulles have spread across the significantly dimmed space, invites us to confront our own fears, face the beast within and learn to coexist with the ones we see as jinn.

CANAN (1970) graduated from Marmara University, Fine Arts Faculty in Istanbul. She lives and works in Istanbul.

Her solo exhibitions include the Shining Darkness, Istanbul (2016); I Beg You Please Do Not Speak To Me Of Love, Siyah Beyaz Gallery, Ankara (2014); Turkish Delight (2012) and Even a Cat Has a Mustache (2010) at Gallery X-ist, Istanbul; Segregate, KIBLA Multimedia Center, Maribor (2010); Bahname, Masa Project, Istanbul (2007), and ...finally you are in me, Istanbul (2000) among others.

Canan has participated in many group exhibitions including the Jameel Prize 4, Pera Museum, Istanbul (2016), Politische Kunst im Widerstand in der Türkei, NGBK, Berlin (2015); Mother Tongue - Turkish Contemporary Video Art, Stiftelsen 3,14, Bergen (2015); Too early, too late: Middle East and Modernity, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna (2015); Envy, Enmity, Embarrassment, ARTER, Istanbul (2013); Signs Taken in Wonder, MAK Museum, Vienna and Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover (2013), and At the Bazaar of Gender: Feminine / Masculine, MUCEM, Marseille (2013); In What Language Shall I Tell You My Story, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (2012); Journey, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris (2012); ACT V: Power Alone, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2010); Confessions of Dangerous Minds, Saatchi Gallery, London (2011); A Dream But Not Yours, Contemporary Art From Turkey, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2010); 11th International Istanbul Biennial (2009); Global Feminism, Brooklyn Museum, NY (2007).

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