How Gozde Ilkin got started… When I was in college, there were certain rules. I was in the painting department and there you were only supposed to paint with paints but I also attended the carpet atelier where you can be interested in many other things such as classical weaving. During that phase I started to sew on t-shirts and more or less any fabric I could find at home. After I graduated, I worked as an assistant to the art director for a movie. There I started to collect fabrics and objects from flea markets, second hand shops and friends.
For my first exhibition, which took place in artSUMER, I started going through the old family photos of wedding ceremonies, birthdays and such that everyone has, which are in a way all the same as if they are supposed to be or as if there is no life beyond those. Collecting the homewares such as bed sheets, table clothes and curtains I started to deform these by sewing images on them. In the second and third exhibitions I focused on the question of why we are here in the process of leaving our houses, and what is happening right here right now?
With “Atil Kunst” each of us learned new methods and improved ourselves by each project. I started to question what is happening in the agenda and how does it reflect onto the fabrics. At one side I was looking at the domestic issues on the other side I was focusing on the facts that look like they work well. Then the fabric turned into a stage for me. From then on, the pattern on the fabric also gained importance, I acquired the role of deforming the pattern on my stage. I tried to find fabrics that are used, that has a history. I talked about the objects and the habit of collecting, which became my daily routine. I took words from books and movies etc. Which all turned into a working order following one after another. I made wall installations that are interwining with objects and texts. Then the wall turned into a stage with an entrance and an exit
It brought a reason for me to travel, I got involved in projects and workshops during the travels.
The inspirations by her travels and latest work….
The work was a result of an experimental road trip. During 18 days of travel passing through Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and meeting artists I wanted to know what I could achieve in 3 days in each country through dialogues with each artist that I met. In other words, how could we connect? We realized that, although being the neighboring countries to Turkey, the closer they are geographically, the more different they are culturally. Knowing only about what’s been told here and there and the usual things we see on TV – we actually encountered a completely different scene from what we are use to seeing, having unique conversations at each stopping point. What we knew or heard before disappeared along with all prejudices. What we did at the same time was like a road trip, a road trip that redefines the borders. All those conversations in the border make you realize your identity, sex, body is not of concern. Your identity is only defined by a passport, which basically says where you come from. During the trip, I collected a lot of remnants such as posters, empty cigarette boxes; basically a lot of different objects from each country I have visited. When I came back to Istanbul I put these objects together with the photos I have taken. It was some sort of a visual map that I have exhibited in different forms of wall- installations later on.
The remnants, which are actually characteristic patterns of the countries, are very close to Turkish motifs and symbols but the changing of the border along with its architectural differences separate each country. Without thinking of the borders between, we see their ways of living, the patterns they use in their textiles and their culture is very similar indeed, however it is the architecture that defines the differences between countries. Therefore, the remnants I have collected are in a way transformed into objects that differentiate the languages and the appearances. When I came back to Istanbul I eliminated these objects according to my memoirs that I wrote and I sewed certain images that I took on my travels onto the main background of my work. It became a diary and in another way a road map of the whole trip. It was first exhibited in Depo Gallery as a wall installation. Following that it was shown in an exhibition in Paris where it changed into another installation with an additional text which is all about the encounters, the details and our situation of passing or not passing through the borders. In Istanbul’74 it turned into a jigsaw puzzle on a wall, representing 4 different countries on 4 different colors of metal plates. I believe now, it came to represent a conversation about borders.