CLOSE UP, 2019
2019, PILOT Gallery, İstanbul, Turkey
6 SEPTEMBER 2019 – 13 OCTOBER 2019
In her new exhibition, İrem Tok focuses on the conflicts between scientific knowledge and subjective experience and seeks knowledge of nature and human beings in the world of microorganisms and small habitats. Artist proposes to take a closer look at the universe and to produce knowledge of tiny things
The encyclopedias are the most iconic representations of the Enlightenment. They contain systematic information and visuals representing science, arts and crafts. Artist rejects precise and clear information by eroding, erasing, cutting and cutting encyclopedias and offers a “close-up”, an image where life itself is sensed rather than a modern thinking that wants to govern nature. While the intense presence of encyclopedias implies the weight of the constructed knowledge, the tiny figures draw near and urge the viewer to create a subjective narrative. As Bachelard said; “One has to go beyond logic to experience what is small and what is big.” (1994: 150). This idea spreads to the entire exhibition. The installation “Erased Poetry Notebook” gives the audience a chance to navigate through Tok’s sketchbook. Artist, who takes the encyclopedic contents out of their contexts, re-classifies them and blends them with his own interpretations, carries her notebook to the walls of the gallery.
Irem Tok’s production process includes research, interpretation, discovery, exploration, collection, accumulation, thinking, taking notes, drawing and merging. İrem Tok’s studio, which resembles to a laboratory, where she conducts experiments and, is transported to the gallery; microscope, robot arm, aquarium, plants that turned into a research object and the blustered letters meet the audience for the first time.
In the exhibition, nature’s oldest and primitve organisms meets with the fundaments of the human knowledge and communication; the letters. Is huge stone statues are the most durable human production? What can stand against the destructive and corrosive power of nature? Can words be stronger than stone? While the lichen and moss covered statues turn to sand and soil, the words turn into letters and letters turn into strange shapes. Lost civilizations and lost words; erasure, erosion, diminution, disruption, crumbling, extinction becomes a holistic installation referring to temporary civilizations that can hold onto life.
Irem Tok proposes a “close up” at the world, at micro-civilizations. It questions what letters, words, art, and science mean today. The exhibition can be seen at Pilot Gallery until October 13th.