Özlem Şimşek 'Dramatic Persona'
04/05/2013 - 15/06/2013
Özlem Şimşek to present her latest work in her new exhibition at Cda-Projects, opening May 4th.
Şimşek takes on the image of the modern women constructed in Turkish paintings during the Westernisation and Modernisation process in an archaeological research which includes works of video and photography. Focussing on the background of the process, she sets out to bring to light what symbols or icons could have had an impact its foundation in the 19th and 20th centuries.
She meticulously follows the path of this process that could have included archaic myths, miniatures, pin-ups, ancient sculptures and religious figures. Images of women, costumes, the matter of nudity, identity, and paintings that represent women from different social groups and the lives of the painters hold a mirror to the history of Turkey and the change in social structure. This multi-layered structure that has been shaped by image, form, significance and an intertemporal transitivity, is separated by the artist in an attempt to create new suggestions towards other possibilities of cohesion.
Ahu Antmen says the following about Özlem Şimşek's latest work:
“In her exhibition, Şimşek, by including ancient sculptures, first figurative paintings and nudes, and representations that reflect the principal visual codes of Western painting in general, wants us to think about what kind of a cultural platform Turkey's repertoire of art history is founded.”
Antmen also talks about parodic citation (appropriation, self-attribution), and adds the following:
“Özlem Şimşek uses this same familiar strategy in this exhibition named “Dramatik Persona” (Dramatic Persona) as she did in her previous one, “Epik Ayartma” (Epic Seduction). But her topic, as I've mentioned before, is not the History of Western Art, meaning the big canon, as it is with many Western and non-Western artists, it's her 'own' history of art. Şimşek brings to life the classical female figures of artists such as Osman Hamdi and Abdülmecid Efendi, who took the first steps in the field of art in pre-republic Turkey, as well as those of early republic era artists such as İbrahim Çallı, Nazmi Ziya, Namık İsmail, as a sort of tableau vivant. She recreates these principal works of art of our art history by using her own body in stages she herself has set up. Here disguise and the setting up of stages function as a metaphor; Şimşek draws attention to the sociological and psychological reflections of the identity construction processes of the photographic images she has created, in the reality of fiction and provisionality, in the period ranging from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey.”
Özlem Şimşek, 1982, Istanbul
She got her undergraduate degree in journalism from Marmara University, Faculty of Communication. She studied documentary photography at Nordens Fotoskola thanks to the scholarship she received from the Swedish Institute in 2004. She completed the Photography Post-Graduate Program at Dokuz Eylül University, Faculty of Fine Arts in 2009 with her thesis titled “Photography as an Opportunity of Expression in Modern Art in Post-1980 Turkey”. She currently studies Proficiency in Art at Yıldız Teknik University. “Dramatic Persona” is her second individual exhibition at Cda-Projects, she also has been involved in numerous group exhibitions both home and abroad. Şimşek lives and works in Istanbul.