Weekend gallery guide: green thumbs, hazy memories and profound portraits

Istanbul this weekend (February 4–5)

By Emma Harper | February 2, 2017

The large-scale, well-curated exhibitions currently on view in Istanbul – Feyhaman Duran: Between Two Worlds at the Sabancı Museum, The Characters of Yusuf Franko at ANAMED and Harbour at Istanbul Modern come to mind – are full-day events. But sometimes you want your art in more manageable portions. So this weekend we suggest visiting three pint-sized exhibitions at galleries in Çukurcuma, Tepebaşı and Nişantaşı. If you’re looking to fill a few hours on Saturday, stop by On Botany at Blok Art Space and All the Light We Cannot See at Galerist. On Sunday, a day of rest for most galleries, we recommend a quick visit The World of My Father at Dirimart Nişantaşı, followed by a coffee and some conversation at MOC.

On Botany at Blok Art Space, Çukurcuma

Melike Kılıç, ‘Blackthorn’, 2016 mixed media on paper

Like Sadık Arı’s engravings of deformed roots (top image), many of the works in this exhibition zoom in on the minutiae of the plant kingdom. Watercolours of orchid petals and supersized slides of plant cells may please the eye, but the narrative works on display are more enchanting. Melike Kılıç’s delicate paper cut-outs tell tales of magical plants, while Ali Taptık’s catalog of urban vegetation visually documents how plants are transformed by the city. Until March 15

All the Light We Cannot See at Galerist, Tepebaşı

Tunca, ‘Untitled’, 2016, charcoal and airbrush on acid free paper, 110 x 280 cm

Not quite the cohesive group show I was expecting, All the Light We Cannot See instead presents four distinct projects tied together by an all-inclusive theme: ‘light’ as a metaphor for memory, future, knowledge and hope. Tunca’s deceptively straightforward charcoal drawings are particularly thought-provoking. What appear from a distance to be photographs are, upon closer inspection, featureless faces, a comment on the instability of memory. The lack of explanatory text renders some of the works impenetrable, so I recommend reading Gökcan Demirkazik’s dissection of the exhibition on Frieze.com before visiting. Until February 11

The World of My Father at Dirimart Nişantaşı, Nişantaşı

Detail of Nuri Bilge Ceylan, ‘A Winter Day on Galata Bridge’, 2007, archival pigment print

Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s portraits of his father, Mehmet Emin Ceylan, are by no means new, but that doesn’t make them any less profound. Like his films, Ceylan’s photographs are intimate psychological portraits. This particular series emphasises the artist’s ability to manipulate light and movement to create a powerful, palpable stillness. As Maureen Freely wrote in Issue 43, ‘he has a particular genius for finding the painterly in the real, and whatever he finds he enhances’. Until March 5

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