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Open City


9 FEBRUARY 2016 - 19 MARCH 2016

Pilot Galeri is pleased to present its first group exhibition of the year, “Open City”, which will take place between 9 February and 19 March. “Open City” exhibits the imagined urban spaces Deniz Aktaş and Özge Topçu created through the use of diverse media.

The 20th century was marked by large-scale urban planning projects and it is now followed by “the century of cities”. The 21st century has been defined by the rediscovery of urban spaces as well as citizens who reclaim and reinterpret their right to the city. The works featured in Open City refer to the ever-changing, open-ended and -both horizontally and vertically- expanding nature of the contemporary cities.

In his brilliant novel Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino wrote, “even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams are made of desires and fears.”. Aktaş and Topçu, working together for the first time are also driven by fears and desires while narrating the intercity issues. Referring to the real urban experiences, they create fictional spaces through the use of different mediums.

In his drawings and paintings, Deniz Aktaş examines traumas imprinted on the city’s memory through a perspective of human - space relationship. The sceneries that have been depicted meticulously by the artist contain overtones of gentrification, forceful eviction, demolition teams and even shoot-outs on the buildings of a complicated, profound and disorganized city. The buildings of Aktaş swallowing, covering its residents and making them invisible, create a sense of being drawn into a vortex or getting lost in a maze.

The recent installations of Özge Topçu, entitled "Still Life" and "Presence II", propose clinically sterile and tamed cities, in contrast to the chaotic and wild depictions of Aktaş. The artist, focusing on the artificial fiction of the contemporary "systems" -both political and economical-, intends to create spaces of absolute reality.  Studying and deforming various modernist buildings from different countries, she reinterprets them. In her latest works, Topçu points out the arbitrariness of the current ‘constructing’, ‘demolishing’ and ‘reconstructing’ techniques through restructuring samples of postmodern architecture and urban design with objects of daily use. Canonized and iconized architectural structures are turned into quotidian household objects.

Drawings, paintings and installations that dwell on the many facets of city will be on display at Pilot until 19 March.

Deniz Aktaş, born in 1987, lives and works in Istanbul. He graduated from Marmara University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Painting department in 2010. He is currently a graduate student at Yeditepe University, Institute of Social Sciences, Department of Plastic Arts. Selected exhibitions include; Mythologies, 3rd Mardin Biennial, Mardin (2015), Second Nature, ODTÜ Art-16, Ankara (2015), How Should Be A War Remembered? Cer Modern, Ankara (2015), Homo homini- ya da yarını unutmak, M1886, Ankara (2014), Mamut Art Project, Antrepo, Istanbul (2013), 3rd Çanakkale Biennial "Amok Runner" video anthology (2013).

Özge Topçu, born in 1987, lives and works in Istanbul. She graduated from Yıldız Technical University, Art and Design Faculty, Combined Arts Program in 2014. She is a graduate student at Marmara University, Painting Department. She is currently based in Halle, Germany as an exchange student at Burg Giebchischenstein Kunsthochschule Halle. Her work concentrates on the construction of national identity and architectural propaganda in modern times. Selected exhibitions include; Locality and Global Discourses 2015, California University School of Art, San Francisco, USA, Alteration Depression, solo, Hush Gallery (2015), Fine Tuned and Multiple, Kuad Gallery (2015), Second Nature, ODTÜ Art-16 (2015), Borders Orbits 15 – 16, Siemens Art Gallery (2014), Rotary Art Prize Exhibition, Finalist, Proje 4L / Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art (2014), Mamut Art Project (2014).

Deniz Aktaş, 2015, 200 x 160 cm, ink on canvas