Barış Acar

Vienna, May 2014


Perception of space is a pillar of the human mind. The existence of space is possible only through the transformation of nature by humanity. The mind reaches out to an object, which produces new possibilities while the mind creates a new environment through the object. We may argue that one sets up one’s mind as long as one keeps arranging the things that surrounding oneself. The mind predates the space, and the space produces a new intelligence. According to Merleau-Ponty, perception that goes from body to object and from object to body is possible only through this movement in the transiton area. Thus, even though one may not realize it at first, the mind as a establishing component correlates with space.

Whatever material she uses, the works of Canan Dagdelen always have the transitivity of skin (in Merleau-Ponty’s terms) as they emerge between space and mind. Whether it is an architectural representation, a photo, or a writing, they mark the first step of the emergence of the mind within a space, making a new proposition. The first impression about those of Canan Dagdelen’s works, which directly relate to architecture, is that they appear stable. But this stability is first cancelled out by nongravity and then questioned by a switch of dimension. This is the mystery of the artist’s works: the space that surrounds us is also surrounded by us.

The works in the exhibition SPACE OF PRESENCE are intended to create the space in that moment of transition and to invite the subject to move inside that particular moment. What Otto Wagner’s station building and Turkish baths by Mimar Sinan have in common is that they extend a mental invitation that enables such presence. Both these transition areas actively coalesce at the gallery space in the three-dimensional writing reading, in Turkish, “ol” and meaning “become.” The hard contrasts in the unpeopled black-and-white photos are imbued with the quiet tension of the people who will soon be frequenting the station, getting on and off trains. The photos of Canan Dagdelen are like a tribute to Otto Wagner’s serene station, which, through craftmanship, incorporates nature into modernism. Walking between the artworks and choosing a path, the audience anticipates not only the architecture but also the intellectual discussion that it evokes. Time is enclosed in this space of presence, which unfolds from artist to artwork, and from artwork to viewer.

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