The painting of a little rope skipping girl, her face concentrated, her hair flying in the wind, her skirt slipping, is surrounded by a broken wooden framework. The topmost part of the timber frame got out of place. It opens a crack to the outside world. It looks as if the girl just has to wake up of a dream called childhood. Her face expression isn’t cheerful, isn’t sad, it is patterned from a kind of truculence. She’s jumping, and one day she’s going to jump out of that frame for sure.
Yeşim Şahın’s exhibition “Inner Monologues” is very much about the struggle for identity and integrity. Both items are not emerging naturally and in a harmony, it is a fight against firm role models and a pressed womanhood, strangled by a childlike understanding of femininity authoritarian family models are favoring.
Yeşim Şahın is mainly working sculptural. In a mixed technique she is fusing painting, sculpturing and the usage of ready mades. The works for the “Inner Monologues” were triggered by the Gezi-uprisings in 2013. The outbreak of collective resistance in Istanbul caused a reflection of her own individual journey towards freedom as a female and as an artist.
The artist was living in Berlin until she was six years old. She is describing her father as the authoritarian patriarch and the mother as a submissive being, pressuring the daughter with a strangling love. Şahın was visiting Turkey only for holidays in her early childhood. Nobody asked her in 1974 if she wanted to return. Her mother went with the daughter to Istanbul and she found herself as a primary schoolgirl there. The father stayed in Germany. In this period only the holidays were the times, she was able to visit Berlin. When she turned thirteen years old the family returned permanently to Turkey.
“I always imagine Berlin as the cleaner, more proper place with more equality and more opportunities” she underlines. A kind of alienation stayed with Yeşim Şahın and is most visible in her works in this exhibition. A childhood dominated by decision making adults is leaving scars on the soul, especially if borders are closing the path to a place one wanted to be.
In almost all works the act of liberation is appearing. Her artworks pass a way out of the dilemma of a torn identity for Şahın. A dancing girl on a meat-mincing machine is ridiculing carefully the dualism of the past and the present, obviously resulting in a salvation of the self in an inventive form of creativity. Yeşim Şahın’s unique style is a result of a deep-rooted sadness overcome by a fine humor and a riot oriented rebellious character. The works are combining pop-art-esthetics with elements of a fantasy folk painting style that is neither German nor Turkish; it is the result of the imagination and fusion of both influences. Partly the objects could be also part of a film set of a serial of a family drama with grotesque, black comedy elements.
The artist, concentrating on personal and social relations in her works, has begun to focus on ready-mades after 2004. Sahin poses one reality against another and chooses to develop a duality through her works.
The solo exhibition is showing pieces produced between the years 2013 – 2015. Yesim Sahin’s “Inner Monologues” can be viewed at C.A.M. Gallery-Istanbul between the dates 5-28 March.