Füsun Onur: Through the Looking Glass
Füsun Onur
Through the Looking Glass

Curator: Emre Baykal

28 May-17 August 2014
Emre Baykal, on "Through the Looking Glass"
Exhibition view from Istiklal Street
Photo: Murat Germen
Exhibition view: "Any Chair", (1991) 2014 and "Pink Boat", 2014 (sketch: 1993)
Photo: Murat Germen
Füsun Onur, "Elegy for Tekir", 2009-2012
Installation view: "Through the Looking Glass", Arter, 2014
Photo: Murat Germen
Füsun Onur
"Counterpoint with Flowers" (1982) 2014
Installation view: "Through the Looking Glass", Arter, 2014
Photo: Murat Germen
In 2014, Arter featured a comprehensive solo exhibition by Füsun Onur, one of Turkey's pioneering contemporary artists. Curated by Arter's Exhibitions Director Emre Baykal, the exhibition borrowed its title from Lewis Carroll's book "Through the Looking Glass".

"Through the Looking Glass" brought together more than 40 works spanning from the artist's early career to her most recent production.

The works in the exhibition covered an era of almost 50 years committed to an uninterrupted research on the potentials of space, time, rhythm and form that are inherent in simple, everyday materials. The exhibition thus aimed to offer a survey of Füsun Onur's body of work, from early abstract geometric drawings to the idea of sculpture as a linear drawing in space; from three-dimensional spatial objects to installations that employ ordinary materials such as furniture, textiles, beads, toys and so on.

Following a route that echoes the intuitive co-existence of individual pieces in Füsun Onur's world, the exhibition focused on the strategies the artist has developed in order to expand the boundaries of painting and sculpture as well as to break the borders between them. The exhibition also offered clues as to how the artist's work has embraced, in the course of her production, quotidian, narrative and even autobiographical elements with the introduction of a gradually diversifying range of materials.

"Through the Looking Glass" also featured a number of previously unrealised works produced especially for the exhibition and premiered at Arter. One of these was a work Füsun Onur originally modelled in styrofoam for a competition in 1972. This model was revisited and transformed into a labyrinth/space that surrounds the viewers and multiplies their image on its walls of mirror.

Another was a project conceived and drafted by Onur in 1993, yet remained unrealised until this day. In this eight-hour long video, a pink boat and three rectangular shapes following its tail are released into the waters of the Bosphorus from the artist's house in Kuzguncuk and persistently maintain their position against the strong winds and ever-changing currents.


"Home", 2014
Video, 5'

Complimentary to Füsun Onur's exhibition "Through the Looking Glass", a new work by Ali Kazma, "Home" (2014), was presented at Arter. Ali Kazma this time turns his camera to the house that became the stage of Füsun Onur's artistic production spanning over 50 years. Installed on a separate floor to accompany the exhibition, "Home" parts open the doors of the small waterfront house in Kuzguncuk, where Füsun Onur was born, and still lives and works with her sister İlhan.