I follow the work of Günnür Özsoy for a couple of years, and have previously written two other texts about her sculptures. For me, it is a great chance to work closely with an artist over the years, because I can see the development and permanent evolution of an artistic world very clearly. It gives me the opportunity to compare various phases, and so focus on change rather than on a static situation of an artist. So, I would like to concentrate in this text on two terms that have obviously altered: Form and Colour.
But before I get into the discussion of the state of her current series, I would like to expose some introductory ideas about the general character of her work, as well as her two previous series that she had exhibited under the titles Spiritual Experiments (2011) and The Light of Emptiness (2013). This will help to understand the change and its meaning for her current series. At Spiritual Experiments, artist transformed marble and polyester into fragile narrations around the dichotomy of life and death. There, she proved that contemporary art is able to combine aesthetical, conceptual and spiritual issues in a formally attractive and intellectually challenging manner. The pieces at The Light of Emptiness discussed the grey zone of our perception and the understanding of reality, a sphere between consciousness and unconsciousness as well as ratio and emotion. Back then, Özsoy reviewed the possibility of forming sculptures between plan and coincidence, as well as design and intuition. Using the method of molybdomancy, a traditional way of lead-pouring for foreseeing, interpreting and understanding the future, she firstly produced small, abstract and organic looking lead-objects in the traditional way. Later, they functioned as models for much larger sculptures, which were created in polyester, and painted in various shiny colour and grey tones. An alienation effect occurred then, and transformed the simple lead-models into great sculptures with an electrifying aura and an attractive aesthetic. So, in this series, the artist had found a way of integrating traditional folk-knowledge, popular superstition, and coincidental form-finding with insight in the theory and practice of contemporary sculpture.
The general characteristics of Özsoy’s oeuvre can be described with the words abstract, dynamic and organic. Regarding its art historical contextual relations, her pieces show strong relations to the aesthetic of abstract modernist and minimal sculpture. Though, as the artist mistrusts and dislikes rational linearity, it differs from the modern avant-garde’s belief in formalism, and materialism as it reflects her thoughts and feelings, and it deals with personal stories and individual history. Due to her rejection of the idea of artistic perfectionism, as well as academic conservatism, Günnur Özsoy follows an anarchic notion of art, which frees her from any strict canon. This approach to the art of sculpture gives her the possibility and ability to create works that exceed any limitation regarding concept, material, technique and form. Nevertheless, in the end, her pieces always show a striking balance of formal beauty and conceptual strength.
From Object to Structure
Her current series is a continuation but also radicalization of her previous series. Obviously, it has strong connections and parallels regarding material as well as aesthetic. Still, she has chosen an organic and abstract form language, and polyester is still the preferred material. Though, the color and shape of the sculpture have changed drastically. Whereas the previous works were based on a single, rather coherent and closed up form, now a liquid, skeleton-like matrix is prevailing. Instead of one form, which is limited by a solid outline, the current sculptures consist of multiple lines and parts. The play with fullness and emptiness within the formal structure of the sculpture makes the works appear as light and rather fragile. It gives it a dynamic inner movement. That is the reason why they look as if they would constantly move in the inside. So, the sculptures are characterized by a strong intrinsic movement. This character is supported by an extrinsic movement, caused by outer power. Some of the works are attached to a string, which is connected to a motor that permanently rotates the sculpture. So, instead a still standing sculpture, the piece then becomes a moving structure that constantly changes its position and appearance in space. The suspension supports the lightness, dynamic and fragility of the sculptures. A pedestal positions and fixes a sculpture, and separates it from its surrounding space. In contrast, Günnur Özsoy’s works float in space, and are integrated in its spatial environment. Their connection to space gets supported by another exhibition method and presentation strategy that the artist has developed. All works, whether they are attached to a motor or not can be placed as the spectator wishes. There is no fixed or preferred angle, position or view of the sculpture. This puts the work in a direct relation with its owner, and gives him partly a presentation-authority over its appearance.
Another important new matter is the shining colors of the pieces. Günnur Özsoy uses a very special car-varnish, which slightly changes its color tones according to the position and view of the spectator. Here, again, dynamism and movement play a fundamental role in the selection of the sculpture’s color. Besides this, the tones and scales are so strong and shiny that their ultra-pop-aesthetic creates a strange alienation effect. In white, the works resemble bone structures or organic tissue. Due to the colors, they look artificial. So, a heterogeneous clash of forms and aesthetics brings up a dialectical discussion between nature and culture.
In the end, the current state of Günnur Özsoy’s work proves that she successfully propelled her sculptural approach by finding new forms of expression and ways of production. That is why the exhibition at PG Art Gallery promises more surprises to come.