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Artists Ahmet Oran and Işil Eğrikavuk open exhibitions at Rampa gallery in Istanbul
Işıl Eğrikavuk, Infamous Library, 2006. Video, DV, 00:07:00. Videodan görüntü. Courtesy of the artist and Rampa Istanbul.

ISTANBUL.- Rampa is welcoming viewers with two exhibitions. On the ground floor exhibition space of the Gallery, Rampa hosts Ahmet Oran’s new exhibition, while in the project space on the upper level, Işıl Eğrikavuk presents “Infamous Library”. The exhibitions can be visited between April 17 and May 24.

Ahmet Oran
Ahmet Oran meets viewers with his second solo exhibition at Rampa after a four-year interval.

This exhibition brings together new works by Ahmet Oran realized over the last four years together with some of his early works. The almost entirely monochrome canvasses we encounter in Oran’s early work reveal the artist’s mastery of the volume and texture of his material. The viewers will witness the changing and evolving relationship of a painter with painterly space through the opportunity to compare the artist’s recent works with those selected from different periods spanning his thirty years long career.

Oran uses coats of paint with his unique style in his recent work as well. He creates colorful strips on the surface by peeling the shell of the canvas painted layer upon layer using palette knives, scrapers and pieces of wood of various sizes. The emerging radiant color stains suggest the possibility of a hidden secondary canvas from beneath the crevices the artist opens on the canvas. Oran’s paintings transform into a seductive and surprising visual script. The powerful spatial existence of these paintings is not coincidental. They appear before us as the culmination of the artist’s meticulous research on the significance of color and sensory qualities of densely applied paint.

The exhibition is accompanied by a documentary video that follows the artist’s adventure with a canvas from beginning to end, and documents Ahmet Oran’s working style, the formation process of his paintings, and the state of his canvases at various stages.

Işıl Eğrikavuk
Infamous Library

Işıl Eğrikavuk’s exhibition “Infamous Library” brings together her video by the same name and the interactive installation the artist has specifically produced for this exhibition inspired by this video work.

Infamous Library, the first of Eğrikavuk's video series, recounts the story of 12 people who were kidnapped in September 1980 by unidentified people and held captive in a library for two years from the perspective of one of the abductees.

In Infamous Library, which starts out as a video-interview, March, who is one of the 12 kidnapped people, answers questions directed at him from behind the camera. The story of these 12 people, who have been assigned to find the subject headings given to them each day and erase them from books, is disrupted when March, who has been telling the story in English, suddenly begins to speak in Turkish. As March objects to the stories he has been telling, the video is frequently cut and turns into a double narrative. March’s memories of the library on the one hand and the discussion between March and Eğrikavuk on the other, make the video no longer just about the library, and shift its focus to stereotypical narratives attributed to the East.

Eğrikavuk had turned her video Infamous Library into a news article for the 11th Istanbul Biennial and had it published in the newspapers Radikal and Hürriyet Daily News on September 12, 2009, which was the opening date of the biennial. Unlike the video, the text was in the form of a news story told by one of the abductees, and while the newspapers could be bought at news stands, they were also disseminated at the biennial venue.

Işıl Eğrikavuk creates fictional stories and situations that blur the existent perception of reality. The artist uses presentation forms of printed and visual press and publishing as part of her work and is interested in the transmission modes of political, social or cultural information. Eğrikavuk invites viewers to devise strategies to question the reality they witness in her videos, performances and projects.

Işıl Eğrikavuk also presents an installation in conjunction with the Infamous Library for her exhibition at Rampa. Through a mysterious library she designed, Eğrikavuk invites the audience to be an active part of this installation. Viewers, by changing the places of books in the library, are invited will to unveil the story.

Ahmet Oran
Born in Çanakkale in 1957, Ahmet Oran studied painting in İstanbul and Vienna. From 1977 to 1980, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in İstanbul with Professor Adnan Çoker. Between 1980 and 1986 he studied painting, glass painting and graphic arts under Prof. Carl Unger at the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts. Afterwards, Oran continued his studies with Prof. Adolf Frohner from 1986 to 1987. For over twenty years, Ahmet Oran opened numerous solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions both in Turkey and abroad. His works have been exhibited in contemporary art museums including İstanbul Modern, Kunsthalle Bonn and Lentos Kunstmuseum. Ahmet Oran lives and works in İstanbul and Vienna.

Işıl Eğrikavuk
Işıl Eğrikavuk studied literature in Istanbul then went to The School of The Art Institute of Chicago for her MFA in Performance Art. She moved back to Istanbul in 2008 and since then she is continuing on her art career there, as well as teaching media and video art at Istanbul Bilgi University. She is also the creator of a column Güncel Sanat Kafası, in which she writes on contemporary art at daily newspaper Radikal. Eğrikavuk is the winner of Turkey’s first contemporary art prize, Full Art Prize in 2012. She is also the first recipient of SPOT Production Fund’s artist grant. She has participated in numerous international exhibitions, and her work has been published in both local and international journals. She published her works in a book, called Under the Same Roof in 2010.

Selected exhibitions and performances: Infamous Library, Solo Show, Rampa Gallery, Istanbul (2014), Reverse Corner, Solo Show, Egeran Gallery (2013), Istanbul, 11th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah (2013), Change Will Be Terrific, Salt Istanbul (2012), Home Istanbul, Sao Paolo (2012), ISEA-10, Ruhr (2010), 11th Istanbul Biennial (2009), Endgame, South Korea (2009), The Interview, USA (2008).

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