The Approach

Evren Tekinoktay

03 Sep - 04 Oct 2015

Evren Tekinoktay
Ulalume, Installation view at The Approach, London, 2015
3 September - 4 October 2015

The Approach is pleased to present Ulalume, Evren Tekinoktay’s third solo show at the gallery. The exhibition is comprised of new neon constructions, collage and projected animations.

Assembled visibly by the hand rather than digitally, the three projected animations presented by Tekinoktay are her first foray into what she describes as ‘moving collages’. Tekinoktay considers them collages with a respiratory tract, a sigh. The handcrafted neon reliefs also have moving mechanical elements and in a sense perform an electrified breathing within the blacked out space of the gallery.

In the past, Tekinoktay’s collages and paintings have been disarming multi-layered images that mix a retro sensibility of female craft traditions and naive child-like markings with a gritty sophistication and knowing feminist undertone. This voice continues in these new works with Tekinoktay further exploring the construction of a female identity through the lens of a series of hermaphroditic images. By exploring hermaphroditism as subject matter, Tekinoktay seeks to dissect the plasticity of gender and sexuality to better inform an understanding of how we come to know and perceive our gendered identities.

With her blend of low-gloss magazine images, coy sketches, paper cutouts and painting combined with neon lights, Tekinoktay creates a feeling of the figure even within the abstract moments. Through delving into this material realm Tekinoktay draws you into her fertile world of associative references and constructions of identity, time, place and memory.

Ulalume is derived from the eponymous ballad by Edgar Allen Poe. Set in October, a vague and melancholy environment is described in which the poem’s forlorn narrator ponders ideas of the body and soul. In a dreamlike state he wanders through a surreal creative landscape in conversation with his personified psyche, guided with hope to an unknown destination by a bright star. All the while a feeling of vague and uncertain loss builds until the memory of the death of his beloved Ulalume, exactly one year ago to the day, is suddenly revived when led to her tomb.

The lack of clarity experienced by the narrator is counteracted in the poem through the creation of an imagined world where encounters with painting and music help to gain clarity and meaning. The rhythmic recitation of the poem’s verses is crucial to its reading and serves as the soundtrack to Tekinoktay’s animation of the same title. Here we listen to a woman reciting the poem with purpose, stumbling awkwardly through some lines, inhabiting the role of the male narrator and perhaps giving voice to the repeated figure in the animated imagery and to the memorialised Ulalume herself. This gesture, combined with the playful kinetic components of the other work, the electricity and vibrancy of the installation and the soft pastel painted neon reliefs imbues this sentiment and offers the viewer a modern take on Ulalume.

Evren Tekinoktay (b. 1972, Copenhagen, Denmark) lives and works in Copenhagen. Selected exhibitions include MOON SILK LUCID WALK, Den Frie, Copenhagen, Denmark (2015); The Inhabitants, Apart, Hotel Kong Arthur, Copenhagen, Denmark (2012); Purple Head, Galerist, Istanbul, Turkey (2011); U, Imo projects, Copenhagen, Denmark (2011); Lysets Land, Projekt Skagen, GI.Skagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (2011); Eldorado, Galerist, Istanbul, Turkey (2009); Material, Operation Room Gallery, American Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey (2009); Til Vægs, Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark (2009); A slightly pregnant man, The Approach, London, UK (2008); Rooming In, Patricia Low Gallery, Gstaad, Switzerland (2008); Kunst Giver Liv, Kunstindustrimuseet, Copenhagen, Denmark (2008).

Tags: Evren Tekinoktay