Walls and Beyond

By Thomas Roueché | December 27, 2022

The first artworks were created by our ancestors, touching their palms onto the walls of caves. Later, tapestries and wall hangings came to occupy a similar context. Created often by female artisans, they adorned the home, a medium that speaks directly to the domestic space, that brings art into contact with our daily lives. At the Sakıp Sabancı City Museum in Mardin, the city’s historic architecture provides the perfect backdrop for Walls and Beyond, (until April 9, 2023), a consideration of wall hangings and wall art from history to the present day. Drawing on a vast range of different approaches, media and techniques, the exhibition brings together over 110 tapestries, from traditional Yezidi hangings to contemporary artists such as Vahap Avşar, Belkıs Balpınar, Burhan Doğançay, Gülsün Karamustafa, Zeki Faik İzer, Tulga Tollu, and Gültekin Çizgen.

Above is Vahap Avşar's tongue-in-cheek textile collage Fraternity of Images (Beauties Serving Coffee and the Last Supper), 2022

Below an anonymous wall-hanging to a mighty stag, Maşallah bu Geyik.

And above and below are examples of modern wall art on a grand scale: Özdemir Altan (1931-): Contemporary Music and the Three Ancient Anatolian Kings, 1972, woven cotton and wool, and below, The Cylcops’ Dance, 1973, both woven cotton and wool and from the Istanbul TRT Radio House Permanent Collection, which makes one all the more intrigued to find out else what else is concealed by the splendid TRT Radio House.

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