June 22 – October 23, 2016
Istanbul Modern brings together İnci Eviner’s creative process from the 1980s to the present with the retrospective “Who’s Inside You?” The İnci Eviner Retrospective reflects the development and transformation of the artist’s rich search for expression, which extends from drawing, painting, and video to installation, photography, and sculpture. Sponsored by Ferko, the exhibition is on view June 22 through October 23, 2016.
İnci Eviner is a pioneering artist who has been influential in the transformation of contemporary art in Turkey. The exhibition “Who’s Inside You?” features works she has produced over the course of nearly forty years, providing a glance not only into her rich world of imagery, but also into the changing social and political realities of the times in which the works were produced.
Eviner has developed a unique mode of expression regarding womanhood, gender, and the politics of identity in their collective, political, and sociocultural aspects. The exhibition is not presented in a strictly chronological order, but rather interweaves past and present, and even incorporates the exhibition space itself.
The press conference held at Istanbul Modern on the occasion of the exhibition’s opening was attended by the artist İnci Eviner, Chair of the Board of Istanbul Modern Oya Eczacıbaşı, Chair of Ferko Ferit Meriçten, and Istanbul Modern Director Levent Çalıkoğlu, who is also the exhibition’s curator.
Duvar Dibi, 1995, Kağıt üzerine akrilik ve kolaj, 108 x 204 cm
I designed the exhibition in an entirely open-plan setting
Indicating that the exhibition “Who’s Inside Me?” was conceived as a unified, immersive installation, İnci Eviner said: “This exhibition enabled me to look back. Not only did it give me the opportunity to look from a certain distance at my own story in terms of how my identity as an artist became established, but it also revealed how all of the works are linked in certain ways. I designed the presentation in an entirely open-plan setting. I wanted to create a dynamic environment that would not be presented chronologically, but would bring back into circulation visual languages that reference one another, speak to one another, and are informed by the same past although they were articulated in different ways at different times.”
Noting that the works are marked by the passage of time, Eviner added that, because she wanted to restage her works, she arranged them as if she were creating a new piece. Eviner said: “We proceeded section by section, using the accompanying texts I wrote for the series that I had done until then, and worked up a design that allows viewers to perceive the entire area as a single picture from the moment they enter the exhibition space.”
We want to enhance the visibility of women artists in Turkey
Chair of the Board of Istanbul Modern Oya Eczacıbaşı stated that the museum continues to hold exhibitions that highlight the pioneering and critical approaches of women artists to modern and contemporary art. Eczacıbaşı said: “We are pleased to host the exhibition ‘Who’s Inside You?,’ a comprehensive retrospective of İnci Eviner, one of Turkey’s leading contemporary artists. Istanbul Modern held its first retrospective of a woman artist in 2006, when ‘Two Generations of a Rainbow’ featured a vast range of work by Fahrelnissa Zeid, a pioneer of modern art in Turkey, and by her son Nejad Melih Devrim. Five years later, we organized ‘Dream and Reality,’ an exhibition examining Turkey’s social and cultural transformation from the beginning of its modernization process to the present through the works of women artists.”
Eczacıbaşı continued: “There are several reasons why we are excited to hold this retrospective of İnci Eviner. To begin with, it is our first retrospective of a living woman artist. We believe that this approach will have an influence on many aspects of Turkey’s artistic and cultural life. Also exciting is that this retrospective marks the start of the Women Artists Fund, a new Istanbul Modern initiative to increase the output of women in the field of contemporary art and enhance their visibility in Turkey and abroad. The Women Artists Fund brings together collectors and sponsors who are concerned about art and women’s issues, and dedicated to increasing the stature and visibility of women producing art and culture in Turkey. The initiative aims to promote living women artists by expanding Istanbul Modern’s collection of new works by women and supporting the projects of women whose works have been exhibited at our museum.”
We create living spaces that are long-lasting, like works of art
Chair of Ferko Ferit Meriçten called attention to the high-quality, exclusive projects they deliver in Turkey and abroad, and emphasized how sustainability affects all areas of human life. Meriçten said: “Ferko has been part of the business world for twenty-five years. We are here with you today thanks to our passion for art, which is ingrained in our corporate genes. As a brand that, while expanding its business, shows sensitivity to the dynamics of the environment in which we live, we are delighted to be involved with art. When designing buildings or spaces, Ferko strives to create living environments that are inspiring, add value to people’s lives, and are long-lasting like works of art. Like art masters, we dedicate meticulous care to every detail. The most important mission of our industry is to build livable cities and include all relevant aspects when developing living spaces, from architecture to cultural structure. It is of great value to us that we, as Ferko, operate from this perspective in every project we undertake. Embracing this awareness, Ferko will continue to support the arts in the future as it does today.”
Arthur Rimbaud, 2005, Kağıt üzerine mürekkep, 174 x 107 cm
One of the most creative and contemporary artists of her generation
The exhibition’s curator, Istanbul Modern Director Levent Çalıkoğlu, stated that in terms of the diversity of her areas of interest and research, İnci Eviner is one of the most creative and contemporary artists of her generation. Çalıkoğlu added: “The exhibition brings together an inventory that spans close to forty years and reveals the rich and profound connections Eviner establishes both within herself and with the unity of art, culture, nature, and the unconscious that makes us human. In all of her works, Eviner transforms this unity and makes it her own through a unique repertoire of images that renders her presence distinctly visible. Like all great artists, she uses ‘potentials’ that at first glance are believed not to belong to the field of art and, through a natural touch, makes them her own. She thus enables us to think and interpret them from a new imaginative perspective.”
It all began with line and drawing
Drawing is central to Eviner’s works; she defines the starting point of her practice as expressions made through lines on paper. She constantly enriches her artistic approach, strolling through a boundless visual language ranging from art historical allegories, iconographies, illustrations, and mythologies to contemporary ideograms and pictograms.
Weaving together the violence at the heart of the beautiful, the potential of the repressed, and the unmatched creativity of the unconscious, Eviner’s works are simultaneously contemporary and timeless. The artist investigates the historical, discursive, and unconscious processes that influence our views of female identity starting in childhood. By defining womanhood as a field of limitless possibility that does not fit into a single image, the artist challenges the representational forms typically deemed appropriate for women and the restrictions that led to the emergence of these representations.
The retrospective “Who’s Inside You?” provides opportunities to see, for the first time ever, several works the artist created following her graduation from the Academy that could not be exhibited at the time due to physical and political conditions. Also featured in the exhibition are very recent works, produced this year.
Sponsored by Ferko, a firm notable for delivering quality and exclusive projects both in Turkey and abroad, the exhibition is on view in Istanbul Modern’s temporary exhibition hall through October 23, 2016.
About İnci Eviner
İnci Eviner has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions around the world as well as the biennials in Istanbul, Venice, Taiwan, Thessaloniki, Shanghai, and Pusan. Her works have been shown at the Drawing Center, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna; the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; and Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, France. Eviner was born in 1956 in Ankara and lives and works in Istanbul.