Şirin Koçak / Kuğulu Art Gallery, Ankara, Turkey
February 10-28, 2014
"Şirin Koçak sticks in our mind with her works in which senses, experiences, broken hearts, and memories of today and the past are blended with a deep and shocking taste. Traces from the past finds a new integrity and expression in her both subjective and universal works made of ceramic clay.
First of all, Koçak prefers to use all the advantages of ceramic clay to the utmost in her works. Natural structural properties of clay and the identity codes forming the virtual identity of clay come to life again in her works. As in “Line” series, consciously unremoved traces of the production techniques can become the main purpose of the study. We can see the story of clay out of these traces, and we are left alone with the reflections of these traces in our inner world. The linear structure on the surface establishes a direct relationship between a function like “drinking” and “touch-tactile” features. Pure and tactile effects of hand shaping present the visual expressions of mankind’s existence as a part of nature in “Light” series, which are full of Neolithic allusions. These works being the integral parts of an archaic expression question the association of the substance with light. They emphasize the significance of the footprint of the matter in the universe, and the space. Concave and convex structures gain new dimensions with different reflections of light and create an illusion effect in places. We see the traces of this inner space also in closed forms of “Circle” series. Although the forms stand out with their natural linear glazed textures on them, the inner space is full of the load of inner energy imprisoned in a body.
Ups and downs in life, happiness and disappointment are the witnesses of her subjective history in Şirin Koçak’s works.
"Days of one heart" project is a cinematographic-photographic expression of this witnessing. Koçak describes this work in her sensory language: “this work is so special to me! The work in the form of a single heart is presented with its photographs in new stories which take place in different venues, and in the hands of different people. This heart has been an object that has been with me anytime anywhere in this two-year period that I felt all alone. Without prior planning, I took photos of the object in different places and tried to reflect the object’s (my) mood. The journal of one and same object… sometimes it was cracked, and I repaired it, sometimes it was broken, and I fixed it; my fighting spirit that still continues to exist”. Although the photographed places are examples of a spontaneous selection, their coexistence with the ceramic heart takes us to different fictive worlds. Sometimes a door sill and sometimes a pond presents an opportunity to navigate our own dream world. That a vital organ such as heart is left such open and exposed refers to unprotectedness and finding life in any condition. The presence of heart disembodied reveals the contradictions that make our life meaningful.
Şirin Koçak pushes the boundaries of traditional and cliché expressions of ceramic. The photographic expressions and different materials that she uses in her works help ceramic to be regarded as a modern art medium.
One mustn’t think that she is an artist who is technique-dependent and focuses on technique since some techniques such as Naked Raku are in front in her works. Şirin Koçak is an artist who can use all the advantages of different techniques in different production processes consciously and skillfully. A dream explorer travelling around senses, experiences, and upsets…”
Words by Kemal Tizgöl