Sıraselviler caddesi. No:83/2
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27 DECEMBER 2019 - 1 FEBRUARY 2020

PİLOT hosts HIGHER, Serra Tansel’s first solo exhibition in Istanbul between December 27, 2019 and February 1, 2020.

HIGHER is a manifestation of Istanbul’s neoliberal poetry. Occupied with the ways we settle into the world and the borders of our homes in her art practice, Tansel focuses on the gated communities of Istanbul with HIGHER. These settlements have been shaping Istanbul’s silhouette and gaining ground in the global real estate market since the 1980s.


The compounds that are guarded by private security guards, CCTV cameras, walls and fences, bring to mind prisons or military bases and create more segregation in the society. Taking advantage of the earthquake legislation, they lay their foundations on shaky grounds of financial inequalities and ethnic cleansings.  The walls encircling them become materialised lines between social classes, externalizing the “other” as foreign and eerie. Concurrently, the gated communities, estate agents and home decoration shops that are named in Western languages to make them sound more modern -> luxurious -> valuable estranges us to our own culture and language. As a token of our westernization adventure, their advertisements promise to straight couples, pearl smiles and blue eyed blonde kids running on the green grass of their cosy homes.

Whilst our neighbourhoods are being dug up, Tansel is hollowing out the images and language of the dreams and desires produced by the real estate market. The gated communities that replace nature with high rises most commonly include references to rural life and nature in their names. These names that strive to recover what has been wiped out, reveal further the delusion we are living in. Tansel’s works in HIGHER disguise themselves in the aesthetics of advertisements and the bright colours of fantasy lands, to visualise the absurdity of the established order.

Serra Tansel (1989) was born in Istanbul and currently lives in London. She graduated from Central Saint Martins, London’s Fine Art department in 2011. Her solo and group exhibitions include Heavens!, Battersea Arts Centre, London and Bilsart, İstanbul (2019); Sinopale 7 (2019); Billboard 8171, Annin Arts, London (2018); Hiç Birşey Görememek/ Not Seeing Anything group show curated by Mari Spirito, Alt Bomonti, İstanbul (2017); Sera Tansel Unlimited, noshowspace, London (2015); Dünya Döner, Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp (2015); Γ Λ Υ Κ Ι Α   Μ Ο Υ with Joanna Peace, Snehta, Athens; Su İkramımızdır with Duval Timothy, Polistar, İstanbul (2014). Tansel, is a member of the collectives Hayırlı Evlat they founded with İpek Hamzaoğlu and Gizem Karakaş; Makkam they founded with Alper Oruç, Daniela Nofal and Yamen Makdad; and Bonnington Café that has been running since the 1980’s. 


*HIGHER is pronounced the same as the Turkish word for NO – HAYIR. 


Balance Güneşli (Sunny), Digital inkjet print on Hahnemühle Glossy paper, mounting on aluminium composite, 85 x 60 cm