Art Talk: Elmas Deniz & Evrim Altuğ

“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” (Albert Camus)

Bilsart is hosting Elmas Deniz’s exhibition entitled “A Conversation at the Isle of Mollusks” between December 02-14, 2020.

The artist is exhibiting her new video work at Bilsart, which is produced simultaneously as an extension of the Isle of Mollusk (2020) video, which was produced as a part of the Crystal Clear exhibition-curated by Elena Sorokina-taking place at the Pera Museum as of November 15th. The video, which the artist planned in Berlin and shot in the Aegean Sea, carries a kind of irony of the lack of communication of the person who tries to connect with other non-human creatures but cannot manage it. The artist focuses on measuring and thinking everything according to human beings, the relationship between nature and other living things, and the formation of reality according to us. The video, which deals with anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism, sets out on a philosophical research that can be called the “politics of dimensions”.

The video was filmed in the geography, which is also the subject of the artist’s work in the 16th Istanbul Biennial, around the peninsula where an ancient Apollo temple once stood, and the nearby islands, across “the nameless creek”, in the seas where the artist spent her childhood. In the video, the artist sets out from the idea of ​​establishing a dialogue with hermit crabs living in the shells of other creatures around them. The artist, who has been thinking about our relationship with the non-human for a long time, tries to think by constructing an absurd situation this time. The bond she establishes with those who are unlike us, who will never go extinct, and whom we do not care about their abundant existence in nature, loses its importance. Having learned something she did not know for the shellfish once, the artist attempts to do something good for it this time. She examines “the relationship itself” with the story, supported by philosophical arguments on consciousness, the theory of mind, life and death, empathy, and actually looks at places where the connection is broken.


The work has been produced with the support of Pera Müzesi Istanbul ve Zilberman Istanbul | Berlin.

Elena Sorokina, Yasemin Ülgen, Moiz Zilberman, Güneş, Mesut ve Canan Genç, Mustafa ve Şadan Karadayı, Ümran ve Dila Bakioğlu, Ali, Nurşen ve Alper Deniz, Fatih Atakan Sarı, Furkan Inan ve Can Candan.


Elmas Deniz (b. 1981, Bergama, Turkey)

She is living and working inIstanbul.Her works investigate the intersections and points of entanglement between economics and nature. The capitalism-led deterioration of nature, and our perception of it, as well as the related consumerist culture, are the central concepts in Deniz’s practice. Deniz, further focuses on the human-nature relationship, the idea of nature throughout history and ecological concerns.She is interested in value system, losses-extinctions and geo-history.

Her works have been included in the 16th Istanbul Biennial, The Seventh Continent, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud (2019); the 14th Istanbul Biennial, SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms, drafted by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (2015); Colomboscope in Colombo, Sri Lanka (2017); and the 5th Gyumri Biennial in Yerevan, Armenia (2006). Her most recent solo exhibition Three Hues of Water (2019) took place in Zilberman, Istanbul. Her works have been shown at MOCAK–Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, Poland (2019); Arter, Istanbul (2019); Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (2016); Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris (2016); DEPO, Istanbul (2016); SALT, Istanbul (2015); SECESSION, Museumsquartier, Vienna (2013); La Friche Belle de Mai, Marseille (2010); Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (2009); and Platform Garanti CAC, Istanbul (2005). She is one of the founders of the K2 Contemporary Art Center in Izmir. Deniz received SAHA Production Grant (2018); IASPIS artist grant and residency, Stockholm, Sweden (2015); Pistoletto Foundation artist grant and residency (2015); ALANICA Symposium, Vladikavkaz, North-Ossetia, Russia (2015); Vasl Artist Residency, Karachi, Pakistan (2006); and Aiwa Artist Residency, Beirut, Lebanon (2005) She studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey.