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EVERYTHING SHOULD BE UNDER THE SUN
Ipek Duben - Exhibition
"Love You Forever"
May 5 - May 26
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm
Domestic violence as a subject for art is inherently controversial, taking on a multitude of social, political, and emotional issues that engage the spectator and preclude passive observation. In this day of twenty-four hour news coverage and a society mired in violence, Ipek Duben’s latest work, a twin installation, Love Book/Love Game, is powerful enough to provoke an anaesthetized audience that long ago learned to tune out disturbing news of this sort. Love Book is a sculptural piece containing fifty steel plates with newspaper accounts of domestic violence. Each plate is installed on a wall and lit by a single bulb from above, and the name of the exhibition is written on the wall with neon lights. All the other lights are dim in comparison and the room feels like an archive housing endless records of wronged and lost lives. Its companion installation, Love Game, is an installation played on a roulette table. It is an arena for the participants to play their part in the destiny of others; the players betting on the criminals who will determine the fortune of the victims.
The installations are based on the original texts of 117 cases of domestic violence and abuse collected from Turkish and American newspapers over a period of three years. Love Book is an archive of passion, love, hatred, revenge, jealousy, fear, and regret expressed through extreme actions on the fringes of human drama. The original newspaper accounts of these tragedies are hand-printed on steel plates and the placement of both text and imagery are manipulated so as to recompose the materials visually. The set-up of the exhibition allows for an intimate examination of the plates, and the irony of the exhibition’s name sinks in. In Love Game, the victims and perpetrators of violence are represented on a roulette table, the killers by their eyes and the victims by their police or press portraits. Neither the potential killers nor the victims know their part in the game, or in fate, until the wheel is spun – like the way most things in life occur.
According to Ipek Duben, the inspiration for this exhibition came from a visceral emotional reaction to the newspaper stories she encountered. She says, “I was deeply moved by the stories of these men and women, victims and killers from different cultures and races, who expressed emotion by violating each other’s sacred privacy. The gap between reality and dreams was too great for them, it is less for others. In between there is a lot that people share; the right to live and the shame of transgression.”
Ipek Duben’s personal history and her interest in social and political issues are the central forces in her work. As a modern woman living part of her life in a relatively traditional society and an artist with a background in political science and art history, she draws from the wellspring of her emotional, artistic, and intellectual experiences in approaching her work. Ipek Duben studied art at the New York Studio School and received a Ph.D. in Art Criticism and Art History from Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul. She received her M.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and her B.A. in Philosophy and Art History from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia. A native of Istanbul, Turkey she currently splits her time between Istanbul and New York. Since 1992 she has kept studios and exhibited her work in both countries.
Ipek Duben’s work is in the permanent collection of the Rotterdam Museum, the Museum of the Municipality of Istanbul, the Turco-British Association in Istanbul, and in international private collections. Her book Manuscript 1994 can be found in the collection of MOMA, New York and BANFF, Canada. Her numerous awards and grants include the British Council Art Grant-in-Aid for residence, fellow of the Committee for the Comparative Study of New Nations, and the Ford Foundation Grant and Fellowship of the Center for Comparative Study of Political Development.
Sound created by Riessound, Marilyn Ries. Graphic design by Lojik Reklam, Istanbul, Ahmet Oktem.
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