Yeşim Akdeniz: The Secret Life of My Coffee Table
Pi Artworks London is pleased to announce The Secret Life of My Coffee Table, an exhibition of new paintings by Yeşim Akdeniz. This is the artist's fourth London exhibition, after group shows at The Saatchi Gallery and the European Commission and a two-person exhibition at West London Projects.
Akdeniz paints fictive landscapes and interiors inhabited by a sparse array of design objects and architecture borrowed from our recent past. While the juxtapositions within the picture plane are surreal, the subjects, depicted with smooth surfaces and a soft and muted palette, are unambiguous and unmistakable for anything else. Each series is tied together by an underlying concept that comes through the artist's close reading of psychoanalysis, philosophy, and architectural theory, though the paintings are not composed with the intention of being read in a linear fashion.
For The Secret Life of My Coffee Table, Akdeniz has produced a series of paintings of the exteriors of iconic stone buildings that are partially submerged by clear and calm bodies of water. Alongside this are depictions of the buildings' interiors that contain stylish furniture as well as piles of rocks whose purpose is uncertain. These seemingly post-apocalyptic scenes suggest a potential future where our buildings and design objects in their various forms remain as our sole survivors.
The inspiration behind the series is a childhood memory of Carl Gustav Jung - founder of Analytical Psychology. As a young boy, he felt uncertain about himself and the world. One day, he put a carved manikin and a black stone in a pencil case and hid it in his attic. Without knowing why, the secret box and its contents gave the young boy courage and comfort. Years later, he remembered this long-forgotten act when reading about the ancient soul-stones of Arlesheim, Germany. For Jung, it became clear that the stone from his childhood had - unknowingly - a similar function as that of the soul-stones. As one of the world's oldest witnesses these stones where seen as imbued with a sense of wisdom and 'being' and therefore a calming effect. The fact that this stone ritual was practiced in a similar way in an ancient time he had no knowledge of led to Jung's proposition that our species shares a collective unconscious made up of instincts and ancient wisdom that runs deeper then personal memories.
Informed by this story, as well as Timothy Morton's texts on Object Oriented Ontology, Akdeniz paints buildings and design objects that she feels are both hallmarks of our modern society as well as 'encrypted' with inherent characteristics that tap into our collective unconscious. As the world around us increasingly filled with our own inorganic constructions and designs, they become the successors to Jung's historic stones. Raising the question, how will this relationship change in a contemporary society where an increasing number of the assets we own and interact with exist in dematerialised digital form?
Yeşim Akdeniz lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey. Solo exhibitions include Those Opposing and Those Sympathizing, Dirimart, Istanbul, Turkey (2014); A Dream Within a Dream, PAK Kunstverein, Glückstadt, Germany (2011); The New Professionals, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2008); Sterblichkeit hat ihren Preis, Produzentengalerie, Hamburg (2007); The Man, West London Projects, London, UK (2006); and Cocaine Nights, Galerie Klinkhammer und Metzner, Düsseldorf (2002). Group exhibitions include Sanat International, 12 Star Gallery, London (2015); Le peintre de la modern, Galerie Jochen Hempel, Leipzig, Germany (2013); Signs Taken in Wonder, Museum für angewandtekunst/ MAK, Vienna, Austria (2013); Wir Drei, Guggenheim Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2013); Confessions of Dangerous Minds, Saatchi Gallery, London UK (2011); and 20/20 Vision, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam The Netherlands (2004). Her work can be found in private collections such as the Deutsche Bank Collection and Nederlandsche Bank Collection, in Germany, and museum collections such as the Fries museum and De ateliers, in Amsterdam and the Netherlands.