CANAN, Honeyed Fruits on It’s Branches, 2015. Photograph, gold and ink on special paper, 70 x 90.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Rampa. Photo: Chroma.
CANAN at Frieze NY
May 14–17, 2015
Frieze New York
Randall’s Island Park
Rampa is pleased to participate at the forthcoming edition of Frieze New York with a solo presentation of CANAN.
Born in Istanbul in 1970, CANAN continues to live and work in the same city. The artist’s works, which have been displayed in exhibitions in many different countries to include Italy, U.S., Japan and Germany, are also included in significant international collections such as the ones in Centre Pompidou and Istanbul Modern. CANAN, who may well be regarded as one of the most important artists of her generation in Turkey, criticizes the patriarchal social structures and errors in the official written history.
Living and working in Istanbul today means the artist has to cope with at least two different challenges. The first is having to endure the capricious whims of an art scene without firm and established rules, with vague codes and whose delineated borders waver under market influence. CANAN is a rare artist who manages to turn these adverse conditions to an advantage by creating art independently and consistently. The second challenge in this part of the world is the ever present pressure of the orientalist outlook of the West, which results in both a positive and negative differentiation. It is thanks to a critical posture—the sharpest weapon the West itself has created—that CANAN stands squarely against this approach, which relegates both the work and its contents as well as the artist himself/herself to a curious exotic object. The orientalist outlook is only one of the patriarchal paradigms rejected by CANAN, who regards feminism as a necessity of our time. The passive role doled out to women both in society, in the world of art as well as in the metanarrative, plays a significant role in the artist’s work.
As if she wants to bring forth the different dimensions of reality, CANAN is an artist who uses different media techniques simultaneously. She forms collages out of miniatures and photographs, she writes her stories using different forms of literature such as poetry, mythology and the fable; she visualises them through various video techniques while collages appear in the background of videos…We can consider these media as the different layers of a single structure and, as such, the miniature plays a major significance in CANAN’s collection of works. The miniature not only adds depth to what is depicted or visualised, it also provides communication, or even a compromise between the old and the new, the East and the West. It affords a distanced approach to the present while helping establish a closer tie with the past.
As other artists who grew up inhaling the lead-laden atmosphere in the over controlled post-coup environment in Turkey, the critical reaction she has developed against normalisation systems such as the society, the family, religion, customs and ideology and their respective control mechanisms constitutes the basis of CANAN’s work. She takes risks if necessary, sincerely questions issues and is ever so sceptical. She stays the course stubbornly and wilfully and questions the world with the same tenacity and fervour.