The exhibition presents three artists from Turkey: Bilge Friedlaender and Füsun Onur, two grandes dames of Turkish contemporary art, are accompanied by the young Kurdish artist Ahmet Doğu İpek. What they have in common is their muted approach. The “border of time” in the exhibition’s title is borrowed from the philosopher Michel Foucault (la bordure du temps); it divides the present from the past, marking the show’s poetic horizon. The exhibition was produced in close cooperation with ARTER, Istanbul.
In her quiet art, Bilge Friedlaender (1934–2000) reflects on the relationship between humankind and nature from a female perspective. In Friedlaender’s work, the relativity of space and time is not theory but physical experience gathered while running or diving. Her sensuality is answered by a never speculative spirituality; her geometry, focussing on the square, displays the kind of transformations and rhythms learned by observing nature. Friedlaender moved to the United States in 1958, only returning to Istanbul shortly before her early death. In Germany, her work is still largely unknown.
The same is true of Ahmet Doğu İpek (born 1983) who sealed the memory of 157 days in black squares. Each day, in a meditative, ritual-like act, he created a watercolour that reinterprets the timeless icon of Malevich’s black square as the shadow of a single day.
Füsun Onur (born 1938) is the doyenne of contemporary art in Turkey. Apart from several years studying in the United States (1962–67), her whole life has been spent in Istanbul.
The works selected for the exhibition present some of her central concerns: the framing and division of space, and various aspects of time – ephemerality and transience, the transitory and the cinematographic. Onur’s art is immensely versatile, sometimes conceptual, then musical or narrative. The tone of her objects and installations is private, even intimate, and always full of poetry and a highly cultivated sentimentality.