Deniz Gül


Salt Galata

April 13 – July 4, 2021

Speculating on the multifaceted nature of words and translation studies, artist Deniz Gül is interested in spoken and written language as an art form. The main elements of her practice—texts, sculptures, and installations—start with sound and focus on the reflection of words, objects, and actions, like the enactment of a feeling, an idea, or a coincidence. In her works in Scratch and Surface, the second exhibition of The Sequential program, Gül moves away from visual media, and uses words to oppose the definition of language as little more than a means of communication. “How is language practiced? How to monitor the involvement and effects of words in periods of economic, ecological, and social crisis?” In the exhibition, presented across three floors of SALT Galata and online, she gives priority to sharing her interest in these questions with the visitors while aiming to develop new perspectives on established familiar relations with language.

For the artist, language is a fiction that is always being reconstructed; a geography in which boundaries are constantly negotiated. Defining the act of writing as an irregular playing field where words change and transform, in Klavuz [Plungr] (2016–2021), Gül scans a Turkish spelling guide line by line, making written interventions from connotations without any effort to reach an absolute meaning. Marked pages from Klavuz are on view at SALT Research on the ground floor.

Tavlamalar [Temperings] (2021) is composed of phrases that result from a word evoking, or best described by the artist as “tempering,” another. The sound recording on floor 1 resembles a poem.

Permeating the daily flow of the information screens at SALT Galata, Kartpostal [Postcard] (2017–2020) is comprised of snippets of film shot by Gül in various countries. These moving images, which consider the everyday and the mundane through the idea of a visual alphabet, are also a modest attempt to reinterpret the aesthetics of postcards—recalling representative images like habitual landscapes—in a digital environment.

Daire Düz [Flat] (2021) pursues the premise “To say is to do,” with reference to “speech act theory.” Based on a movement as straightforward as drawing a line, the performance in the exhibition space on floor -1 reflects the pauses between the acts of writing, erasing, and rewriting, with the construction of a physical structure once and again. The feeling of being “under construction” that prevails both literally and figuratively throughout the exhibition, draws attention to the often overlooked labor in this particular work.

Initiated during a series of workshops carried out by the artist and a group of participants as part of SALT’s Study Groups in October 2020, the anthology project Çeviri [Translation] will continue alongside the exhibition. Developing in three stages, the project focuses on scrutinizing urgencies and ongoing debates in language, while deriving possible equivalents of numerous concepts in Turkish and making them widely accessible. The anthology consists of texts, artist talks, and lecture-performances under titles such as postcolonial theory, feminist and queer thinking, new materialism, technology and data use. An output of a joint intellectual production process by artists, curators, writers, and scholars invited by Gül, Çeviri is compiled on a website available for remote online viewing as well as having a dedicated site on the ground floor.

Featuring five independent exhibitions by Barış Doğrusöz, Deniz Gül, Volkan Aslan, Aykan Safoğlu, and the duo Fatma Belkıs & Onur Gökmen, The Sequential is programmed by Amira Akbıyıkoğlu and Farah Aksoy from SALT, and will take place at SALT Galata throughout 2021.

Supported by SAHA, The Sequential will be included in the 2021-2022 public programs of three member institutions of L’Internationale—Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie (Warsaw) and M HKA, The Museum of Contemporary Art (Antwerp)—following the initial presentations at SALT Galata.
Supporters of the project, Çeviri [Translation] (2020–ongoing)
Selection and proofreading: İpek Altun, Hakkı Kaan Arıkan, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Derya Bayraktaroğlu, Deniz Gül, Kevser Güler, Matt Hanson, Aslı Seven, Ezgi Tok

Translations: Sinan Refik Akgün, İpek Altun, Hakkı Kaan Arıkan, Ari Büyüktaş, Jorela Karriqi, Rana Kelleci, Eda Kurç, Gülşah Mursaloğlu, Merve Pehlivan, İpek Şahinler, Efsun Ecem Üçkardeş, Merve Ünsal

The web design and adaptation of this project has been supported by Kraftend.

Kemal Ay, Eda Berkmen, Ayşe Bozkurt, Engin Çetin, Madlen Ma Kamhi, Nesimi Kara, Arın Kuşaksızoğlu, Leyla Pekin, Ezgi Tok, Berkay Tuncay, Mehmet Yaranona