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Barbara Polla selects two female artists from our collection in celebration of Women’s Day

Gallerist and academician Barbara Polla selects two female artists from our collection in celebration of Women’s Day

For Women’s Day, I have selected two Turkish artists among the many great women artists in the Büyükkuşoğlu Family Collection.

İnci Eviner, Untitled. 150×200 cm.Oil on canvas. Nilbar Güreş, Victory, 2010. 110×152 cm. Mixed Media on paper.

İnci Eviner is an artist who is internationally acknowledged while Nilbar Güreş is considered as an outstanding figure of the young artistic Turkish scene. Both work on gender issues, but while Nilbar Güreş is very engaged with these issues in what we could call a “close combat”, İnci Eviner has gained more distance, considering women as Citizen – all of us – all having to resist power somehow, even if us as women, we do even more so, given our gender, in some parts of the world. For İnci Eviner, I have chosen a big oil on canvas which uses paint as drawing and where the body – female or animal ? – is completely integrated in a nature of plants and birds, soft though somehow threatening too. From Nilbar Güreş, I have chosen two big drawings and colors on paper depicting life as collage and as all together aesthetic, fun and cruel plays.

“The New citizen”

İnci Eviner (1956), an accomplished and internationally recognized artist, graduated from the Painting Department of the National Academy of Fine Arts, Istanbul, in 1980 and later obtained her Ph.D. from the Fine Arts Faculty of the Mimar Sinan University. Eviner is both an artist, and a teacher at the Arts and Design Faculty of the Yıldız University. In Istanbul, she exposes regularly with Gallery Nev; internationally, she has been in residency at MAC VAL in Paris and will be hosted by the Drawing center soon. Indeed, for her, drawing is as essential as breathing and has become as a way of living. Drawing and drawing traditions have no secret for her: from engravings to ceramic tile designs, from animations to architectural plans, she masters all the drawing techniques. “For me,” the artist says, “drawing is very lively, very necessary.” “The line is very conceptual…and at the same time very expressive.”

Eviner’s work is often political and explores the lives and activities of marginalized peoples. She has been very involved in Resist Gezi and enjoying the possibilities offered by this new way to live citizenship via resistance to power. She has been addressing contemporary feminism in depth, but her work also explores broader existential issues, notably through body, performances and historical narratives. Her videos are captivating, with their uncanny, repetitive and hypnotically shifting scenes, creating constant tensions between the space and performing bodies.

“We are Walking Collages“

Nilbar Güreş (1977) works with collage, video, performance, photography and objects. Collage is as essential for her as drawing for İnci Eviner. As she states, “it’s like when you ride a bus, sitting next to someone, you look into their eyes, hands, and outfit, so you can more or less guess the rest of the story. I think I am like this: following the hints of the present situation and then the history of someone, something. We are all taken from somewhere; we are walking collages, ideas.”

Her gender-based practice engages with issues surrounding the female identity and the role of women in society, the relationship between women and their home and public space, but she also explores marginalized communities and patriarchal systems, being globally interested in strategies for survival as part of our human condition. One of her videos entitled Undressing shows a person taking of her veils but although she is taking them off with care one after the other this is a never ending process. In another video entitled I am a Man, the artist performs a public action, writing I am a man on a tree trunk and then dripping red paint under this assertion, obviously contradicting it.