Memory without a Place

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DEPO Istanbul is hosting the exhibition Memory without a Place by artist Silvina Der-Meguerditchian produced by the Houshamadyan Association.

The artist is the granddaughter of Armenian immigrants to Argentina and was born in Buenos Aires in 1967; she lifes today in Berlin. Her artistic work deal with issues related to the burden of national identity, memory, the role of minorities in the society and the potential of a space “in between”. She is as well artistic director of the Houshamadyan Association, a project to reconstruct Armenian life and its social environment in all its facets during the Ottoman Empire.

 

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One of her leading visual motifs are cords of various forms mostly in red. Presented as wool threads, long strings and braids, they beget a wide range of associations, which evoke mostly organic structures such as blood vessels, neural systems, blood spills and spider webs. It feels as if they have an organic integrity and texture, at times recalling closely interwoven fabric patterns. These fibers seem to be unraveling from where they belong, driven away, scattered, and fractured. Yet, they don’t lose contact entirely with the site of origin. One end of the thread maintains its touch with this unity.

 

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The interaction between personal experiences and collective memory is a decisive dynamic in her works. Her ancestors had to migrate from Anatolia to Argentina due to ceaseless sufferings in the aftermath of the 1915 genocide and this autobiographical element has been a pivotal factor shaping her work. It becomes possible to re-read the red threads in the artist’s work through a geographical specificity in this light: as marks of lives that are ruthlessly torn away from their soil which nonetheless persist to sustain their bonds to it through various practices of memory. In that sense, Der-Meguerditchian’s carpets in the exhibition reveal the hope of healing the remaining wounds of having been uprooted; for soothing the suffering souls and embracing the wounded ones through acts of weaving and suturing. The portraits of family members, relatives, neighbors and fellow country people are brought together on the same plane through the figural patterns of weaving that belongs to the Anatolian geography.

 

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DEPO, Tophane – Istanbul
Opening April 18, 6 pm
April 18 – May 25 2014

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