1994, Glasses

Developed for The 15th Contemporary Artists Istanbul Exhibition

Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum, Crown Prince Chambers, Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul


When Ersen was invited to participate in the 15th Contemporary Artists Exhibition in 1994, though no such special request had been conveyed to her to this end, she had chosen to address the site specificity, historical memory and contemporary function of the exhibition space. 


The exhibition was once again being organized in the Veliaht (Crown Prince) Chambers which could be accessed after passing through the entrance security control of Dolmabahçe Palace. The artist’s work consisted of a simple set up of glass cups fixed on a long horizontal line on the wall at ear’s height. Images of people putting their ears to the glass stuck to the wall from its top to hear more clearly a conversation or an argument next door would materialize in the audience’s mind. 


As in the Ayrılıkçeşme project, Ersen had once again appealed to the word “dialogue” to name her wall installation. It could be said to refer to the effort to bridge divided sides, barriers set up between the past and the present, temporal ruptures; an endeavor to reveal traces buried in the depth of memory—as if recalling Ayrılıkçeşme. In order to perceive the obscured in an environment where talking to each other is rendered impossible by the official discourse, an extra effort— listening—was required to penetrate the reality beyond the surface.