Organ Panic – Bahar Yürükoğlu
Art Sümer, Istanbul
05.09 – 18.10
With her new solo exhibition Organ Panic at artSümer, Yürükoğlu offers the visitors a chance to enter her idiosyncratic world of sensory stimulation. Through the vertiginous pattern of the checkerboard floors, the shimmers from the disco ball above, the steady hum of a pipe organ she recorded during a trip, and the smell of essential oils, the artist pulls you into the sanctuary she has built. The double entendre of the exhibition title is undoubtedly intentional here; the space of Organ Panic functions both as a temple to color and light where you come for respite, and a daring invitation to see the insides of the artist. The saturated space of Organ Panic includes new photographic work both from Yürükoğlu’s studio and her travels, and also nods to the artist’s recent experimentation with painting, in line with her already established material vocabulary, technicolor palette and continuous engagement with refractions and reflections.
The central element of the exhibition is Organ, an altar to what might be dubbed the plastic sublime. Plexiglass shapes, lights, mirrors, patterns, fiberglas body parts,artificial aquarium plants and fake gold chains come together to offer what is both a farcical study and a loving embrace of our current material environment. Organized as an elaborate backdrop in a photographic studio, Organ is also a nod to what lies at the core of Yürükoğlu’s practice; the careful orchestration of a frame that is only as natural as it is artificially composed, waiting to be frozen with an instant click at the right moment. Organ is flanked by Yürükoğlu’s new photographic work, both from her travels in the past two years and from her new studio in Cihangir. Techno (2017) was taken in Guna Yala, when Yürükoğlu traveled to the autonomous indigenous territory in Panama, during a three-week stay embedded with one of the communities that live between the sea and the tropical rainforest. Untitled I, Landscape Intervention (2018) and Lost City (2018) are from the North mid-Atlantic ocean, namely the Terceira Island in the Azores Archipelago. Seeking out extreme natural landscapes is a characteristic feature of Yürükoğlu’s practice; the places that we assume are de-saturated from the human-made is where the artist is able to see the tension between the organic and the inorganic most clearly, re-making nature in her own image. In this exhibition, these works come together with her studio
practice, making visible the inherent bond between the artist’s practice indoors and outdoors. Both her photographs from her travels and her studio work such as her 2019 works Heart, Kidney and Brain are puzzles of perception as much as sleights of the hand; Yürükoğlu makes seamless a world that we well know is stitched together.
Yürükoğlu’s photographs do not strive to represent a place, but use the experience of being in the world, either out in nature or huddled in a studio in a busy urban street, to create a sense of other wordliness, to catch the magical moment before it passes. Maybe it is an escape, a sanctuary, maybe it is what we should always seek. The whimsical intensity of this magnetic world that the artist creates is playfully indeterminate, carrying the potential for elation as much as its opposite. In Organ Panic, we are invited to let the lights, the smells and sounds wash over us, to appreciate them for what they are instead of changing what’s there or constantly searching for something else elsewhere. We stay here, with eyes closed or open, as we mindfully inhale and exhale.
Text by Duygu Demir