Endless Energy, Mitochondrial Eve Exhibition

Hibah Ambreen
The exhibition I visited was held to celebrate International Women’s Day. It was on display from 8th to 27th March at Ataturk Cultural Center. The title of the exhibition was “Endless Energy, Mitochondrial Eve.” The AKM Gallery hosted this exhibition which was prepared by the “Foundation for Independent Art” with the support of the Beyoglu Municipality and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The theme of the exhibition, in line with women’s day, was the predominance of feminine perfection and to highlight how the origin of everything is essentially from the “woman.” This perspective was linked to a scientific approach by pointing at the cellular level to the Mitochondria. Simply put, the exhibition tries to portray how the energy is transmitted from a mother to a child directly. This exhibition was curated by Hulya Yazici and consisted of art pieces from 19 different artists who produced works on the same theme. Each work uses different mediums, varying from painting to ceramics and from mixed media to digital. Entry to the exhibition was free, and thus no tickets or brochures were given.
I decided to visit this exhibition particularly because I have an interest in modern and contemporary art and the theme of this particular curation intrigued me because of its relevance to today’s male-dominated society. It was art declaring a specific statement. The entire show was curated to give out a message and to highlight the importance of women in society. In my opinion, the theme was efficiently portrayed in each of the works, and even though the works were all from different artists and made use of different mediums, still the amalgamation of the works had an overall coherence. Each work held a uniqueness peculiar to itself and caught the attention of the gazers to contemplate its depth. I also think that because there was such a diversity in the types of the works presented, that increased the influence of the exhibition and made the experience even more distinctive.
Gunseli Kato, “Meryem-Miriam-Mayda-Maide-Mary-Maya-Magda”, 2022, Marble powder polyester, 11×50 cm
Seydi Murat Koc “Bir Arti Bir Esitter Bir”, 2021, Oil on ready Object, Bust 215X48 x 16 cm Base 125x 25 x 25 cm
Yusuf Aygec, “Mezil”, 2018, Oil on Canvas, 260×200 cm
One of the works that really caught my attention was the piece on the right titled “Menzil” by Yusuf Aygec. It is oil on canvas and has dimensions of 260×200 cm. Aygeç, born in 1989 in Istanbul, graduated from the Painting Education Department of Marmara University in 2013. In his works, the artist explores space and shadow along with play in colors. Nevertheless, his painting technique is what really makes him stand out
What caught my attention foremost was the technique of painting. At first, looking at it from afar, I thought that the artist used pointillism to make this faceless portraiture, but once I went close and examined the work, I realized that it was made with short textured strokes, which mimicked pointillism in a way. I chose this particular work not only because of the technique but also because of a few other elements which impressed me. Firstly, the color palette: it was fascinating to me how the artist has mainly made use of pastels and softer tones in his work. I think it suits the theme very well in terms of how a mother’s affection and the baby both have a sympathetic appeal to the viewer. Second, the use of gold on the mother’s face was of importance to me. One can assert that gold being a color that symbolizes richness and superiority, has been used intentionally by the artist to highlight the essence of motherhood. By placing it in place of an actual face, gold can be seen as a metaphor for motherhood, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, and all such demographic classifications which hold a prestigious rank in the life of a mother’s child. Lastly, the use of an “arch” as a frame around the mother and the baby holds relevance to the overall theme of the exhibition as well, in my opinion. The arch acts as a symbol of rebirth in many artworks, and so I believe in this work as well it shows the transition to a new era for a female when she gives birth and becomes a mother.
Mutlu Baskaya, “Eneji Bagi”, 2022, Ceramics and Mixed material-Hand formig-copper matt firing, 70×100 cm
Although the focus of my report is the work of Yusuf Aygenc, it would be heedless of me not to include some other works from the exhibition, so I have included a few of the best ones, in my opinion. Each of them made use of interesting mediums and together made my experience of attending this exhibition a great enlightening one.

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