Under Custody

1995, Installation, shoelaces

Developed for the Borders and Beyond exhibition, TÜYAP, İstanbul


Under Custody was realized in 1995, covering a concrete problem that was occupying the public at that time. The number of unsolved assassinations, people going missing and dying in custody were rising dramatically while legal authorities failed to take initiative and responded offhandedly to public outcry. Even though the practice of confiscating objects such as belts and shoelaces when being taken into custody was applied, people were being found dead in custody. Many people were disappearing without a trace. People taken into custody had begun to shout out their names as they were taken into cars due to the risk of going missing in the process. 


In the 1995 exhibition titled “Borders and Beyond” in the scope of the Youth Event exhibition series that facilitated the introduction of many new names to the contemporary art field, Esra Ersen was making direct reference to these incidents. The execution ropes made out of shoelaces were installed at neckline on the walls of the long and narrow hallway designed by the artist from one end to the other. Stickers with names of people who had been the victim of these cases obtained from the Human Rights Association were pinned to the nooses.