"Apartment in Sisli"
Opening: Wednesday 1 November, 6–8pm
Dates: 1 — 25 November 2017
“Apartment in Şişli” responds to an encounter I filmed in Istanbul in 2015.
Sitting in a café overlooking Abide-Hurriyet Street in Şişli, my friends and I observed two women across the street stepping out on the ledge of an apartment window. The women began to clean the windows.
My companion turned to me and said ironically “Here is your Great Turkey.”
He was referring to the former President Süleyman Demirel’s vision of “Büyük Türkiye/Great Turkey”. This was a series of projects and public works that sought to bring rapid industrial and material prosperity to Turkey between the 1960s and 1990s.
One of the most symbolic projects was the President’s 1965 promise to bring television to Turkey. While campaigning in the Anatolian city of Urfa he was met with a group of peasants holding a banner:
“WE DO NOT WANT TELEVISION, WE WANT BREAD”
The fast and unrestricted economic growth delivered television to everyone as promised. The women on the ledge of the window in Istanbul 2015 reminded “us” of what was sacrificed, “our” bread.
These allegorical histories formed the starting point of this exhibition, which was made as a series of material experiments using steel, cement, paint, bread and more bread, bronze, marble, nylon and glass. The simple act of casting an obdurate material like cement with bread produced a fallible form, fragile and time sensitive.
The plurality of material and processes was to amplify the fragility and complexity of Turkey in the era of post-Great Turkey.
Ceren Sinanoglu is a Melbourne based artist. She graduated from Architecture in 2005 from University of Newcastle before pivoting to fine art, sculpture, completing Master of Fine Art at Monash University in 2014. Ceren is currently working at Creature Technology Company.
Photography by Christo Crocker.