Art Talk: Esra Oskay & Zeynep Beler

Bilsart presents Esra Oskay’s exhibition entitled “Flattened to the Ground” between June 12 – June 29, 2024.

Writing on Ceausescu’s Romania, Herta Müller constantly counts days, poles, bus stops in her books. What appears as a delirious act of counting becomes a way of coping with rationalized everyday violence, of trying to understand the world anew through the measurements of her own body. If we think of the act of measuring in relation to justice – the symbol of justice is a blindfolded woman carrying a scale – what appears as a delirium in this excessive act of counting can also be seen as a demand for justice in the face of the immeasurable forms of everyday violence. In “The Power of Shadows”, I count the skyscrapers and measure the area they cover through their shadows laid along the ground. In the work “I respectfully submit the necessary” I articulate myself to a higher order one by one, re/counting respectfully and in vain.  “The Botanics of Sideways” documents the flowers that are uprooted and renewed by the municipality every season without giving them a chance to take root. The crushed and pressed flowers become data for an unlikely archive. The exhibition title in Turkish “yerle bir” expresses becoming one with place in its literal sense but it also means a total destruction, flattening to the ground. This is the order of belonging to a place and to this place.


Esra Oskay was born in Başkale in 1982. She graduated from Bilkent University Fine Arts Department in 2005 and Sabancı University Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design Department in 2007. Since receiving her PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2014, she has been working in Ankara. Her recent work examines the asymmetries of the visibility, claims of accessibility and transparency as a promise of equity and explores alternative means of documentation that probes the limits of the visible and sayable. As such, she explores other means of looking, documenting, organizing in contradistinction to the regulatory power of the discourse of visible.

Currently she is a fellow at Situated Practices Programme coordinated by BAK at Utrecht and IKSV in Istanbul and co-editor of the online independent journal Çapak.