Curator: İlayda Abdik
Art Talk: Özkan Işık & İlayda Abdik

Bilsart is hosting Özkan Işık’s exhibition entitled “You Know Me From Somewhere” between May 03 – 13, 2023 as part of the “1+1” exhibition curated by İlayda Abdik.

1+1 consists of one living room and one bedroom. The living room is a private and potentially public space for an outsider, a window that opens to the resident’s personal space. The daily routines performed in this area come from the urge to abide by the norms of society for the observed (resident) and to get approval from the observer (guest); this is an unofficial agreement between the two. Especially in our society, the living room is open to the visitor’s judgments and inferences on the stance of the resident’s sociological, economic, and phycological state. This is so evident that gender roles are ascribed to rooms and objects and get enhanced with specific routines and actions that point to identity; the bedroom is the secret and private space. What happens here is personal and intimate, and the existence of this room remains in all its mystery. Özkan Işık and Damla Sari examine the gender roles attributed to parts of the house in two solo exhibitions and offer alternative perceptions of the assigned tasks. In 1+1, artists present (self)portraits of stereotyped personas based on sociological, psychological, and cultural components.

In his practice, Özkan Işık focuses on queer communities, examines the directness of the approach applied to queer theory, and the possibility of its reconstruction. Işık uses textiles, weaving, and video as mediums. Weaving was used first by artists practicing feminist theory, then adopted by artists practicing queer theory. The tactile reflex the fluid and changeable structure of the material creates relates to the excavation of memory layers and overlaps with the issues of femininity and masculinity covered in his practice. The artist thinks that the straightforwardness of how gender studies approach queer theory pushes the definition of this theory into an ambiguous field. He offers alternative possibilities to this perception and suggests different readings of it. In the exhibition titled It’s Like You Know Me From Somewhere, the artist constructs new realities regarding the perception of the bedroom through the conceptual frame he creates with video installations and woven carpets. One can see a manner reminiscent of weaving in the video installation with the same name as the exhibition. The video installation comes from an ironic point of view and prompts the viewer to rethink the presumed definition of masculinity through body movements. It opens up a space for thinking about the possibilities of alternative masculinities. The male prototype, which is faceless but very familiar, repeatedly encountered in his practice, gains an identity as the artist himself; this identity remains true to this prototype. However, this character, which the artist takes on with the help of images, opens doors that allow new readings about the bedroom, which is (questionably) supposed to be kept private.


Özkan Işık (1991, Erzurum) graduated from the Department of Painting at Erzurum Fine Arts Highschool in 2009. In 2013, Işık got his bachelor’s Degree from the Painting Department of Gazi University Fine Arts Faculty. In 2018, he received his Master’s degree from Gazi University Fine Arts Institute with his thesis titled “Gender Readings In Contemporary Art”. He continues his education at Düzce University Fine Arts Institute Proficiency in Art Program with his thesis study titled “Identity in Post-Truth Age Art Practices”. He participated in the 2021 Mamut Art Project selection with his series titled The Two of Us. His work was shown in the 2022 Zilberman YFD11 selection. He participated in the 2nd term of the 2022 Istanbul Biennial Work and Research Program with the research project “New Art Practices in Turkey Through the Identification of Post Truth and Post Queer Concepts”. His works were exhibited nationally and internationally in over thirty group exhibitions.