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Meeting the Darkness

İREM TOK

2 FEBRUARY - 9 MARCH

Pilot Gallery, is pleased to host İrem Tok’s fourth solo exhibition in the gallery space titled “Meeting with Darkness” between February 2 and March 9. “Meeting the Darkness”, which Tok has been working on for the last two years, brings together the artist’s ceramic works as well as her new ‘experiments’ with paper and books.

 

Tok’s exhibitions, constitute the stops of an adventure in which she searches for ways to tell her own individual stories while keeping a record of time without considering the opposition of human-culture-nature. The artist explores the possibilities of how to write and read stories in which the human is not the protagonist. Above and below the soil/water is the home of an infinite vitality and cycle. While her art is preoccupied with the question of how to read stories that include all this non-human vitality, an attitude of not reading human beings and the culture they create apart from this circularity is chosen in almost all of her works.

 

In Tok’s exhibition, she questions human perception and the limited capacity of human beings to understand reality by revealing the transience of human/living creature life, especially civilizations. Ideas of modernization and progress place the world on an anthropocentric axis while attributing secondary value to nature of which humans are a part. İrem Tok’s work comes to life in a field where archaeology, biology, geography and art intersect. Through her works in different disciplines such as sculpture, installation and murals, Tok proposes a closer and deeper glance at life.

 

This time, Tok takes a different approach to encyclopedias, which she has been working on for a long time and turns them into mortar, spreads them on the surface and turns them into element that holds and unites the pieces. Through the surface layers created using the pages of old encyclopedias, Tok shows the viewer artifacts/texts from different periods of time while at the same time pointing to the missing pieces and shadowed sides of history. In the series titled Civilization Mortar, surfaces made of books are piled on top of each other like layers of geological soil and ceramic plates produces by the artist connect the surfaces like a mosaic. With these works, Tok attempts to understand civilizations with reference to archaeology, while raising questions about the gaps/cracks left behind the fictional side of archaeology and the wear and destruction of archaeological artifacts caused by man and nature.

 

The theme of ‘meeting the darkness’, which also inspired the title of the exhibition, manifests itself in different ways in a series of works. In addition to the dark hands and face, which the artist defines as self-portraits, her ceramic works focusing on different types of plants that grow in the dark, plants with their shadows or faces carrying each other, which have turned into dark/almost mere silhouettes, constitute the main trace of this exhibition. The ‘dark’ traces, which can also be read, as a metaphor for the age and geography we live in, refer to the difficult conditions people are in socially and the adaptation process they provide to all the bad conditions. And it contains elements that will challenge the imagination of future archaeologists.

 

İrem Tok, who lives and works in Istanbul, focuses on the concepts of fragility, impermanence, helplessness as well as the transient boundaries between human, nature and culture in her works.  The coexistence and conflict of nature with human and civilization occupies an important in her works. Producing works in various mediums such as painting, sculpture, ceramics and animation, Tok transforms symbols of knowledge such as encyclopedias and books, confronting historical narratives and encouraging the subjective. Through her works, the artist questions the irony in the human effort to understand the whole universe.

 

Tok has been an artist-in-residence at SAHA Studio since December 2023. In 2018, she was an artist-in-residence at Kamiyama Air İn Japan and in 2013 at Cite des in Paris. Recently, her works have been shown in many countries around the world, including Japan, Korea, Germany, Austria, Italy and France. Her works have been exhibited in many prestigious museums including MAK, ESSL, Arter, Sinclair Museum, Frankfurt, ENSBA Paris, AKM, OMM Eskişehir, as well as Çanakkele and Mardin Biennials. The artist’s solo exhibitions include, “Close Up”, Pilot Gallery, Istanbul (2019), “Heian No Mori”, Kamiyama, Japonya (2018), “Where I Fell Into Earth”, Pilot Gallery, Istanbul (2016), “Against the Wind”, Pilot Gallery, Istanbul (2013) and “Fade Away”, Outlet Gallery, Istanbul (2011).

 

İrem Tok’s exhibitions titled “Meeting the Darkness” can be seen at Pilot Gallery until March 9, 2024.

 

 

 

 

İrem Tok

EXHIBITION PHOTOS