January 18th, Sarkis opened a new solo after a while at Dirimart’s new space in Dolapdere. I didn’t have time to go to the opening. Luckily! If I had, I am sure I wouldn’t have looked in closely to all the details of the works as I did weeks after. Last week, co-curator of the exhibition Ceren Erdem presented a guided tour and I have to admit she did a hell of a good job. The gallery was literally packed with collectors and art viewers. Ceren Erdem hosted the whole tour, describing each artwork one by one.

This wall is named as “the map of the world” by Sarkis and each photograph emphasises a climax or turning point for the artist on a humanitarian or historical scale.

Placing the theory of memory at the core of his practice, Sarkis is introducing a layered critical view to today’s social and political issues by inviting various witnesses from the history to the exhibition.

The exhibition starts with photographs of the artists studio from ages ago. As Ceren Erdem said, the artists is very keen about his studio. Every detail in the studio has a meaning for the artist. All of his meetings even phone calls about his work, the artist takes it into his beloved studio. He also brings objects from all over the world during his trips and gives them a new life, a new surrounding with new neighbours in his studio.

From Sarkis’ studio made with the Kintsugi effect.

A battle scene from the 15th century and the responding lightning provoke the gallery as they transmute into neon installations. In this space, golden rainbows, images of which histories are touched by Kintsugi technique, moments captured and enlightened by stained glasses, spoils of war coated with lipstick convene and live in a mirror.

The translation from Japanese of kintsugi means “golden joinery” or “to patch with gold”. Some refer to it as Kintsugi art or to it’s metaphor – “kintsugi life” or “wabi-sabi” philosophy. This technique transforms broken ceramic or china vessels into beautiful works of art and to its new life using gold with lacquer
or epoxy to enhance breaks or the attachment of shards and in so doing giving an aesthetically pleasing and unique way to repair broken pottery. Gold is not the only color of kintsugi repair. Other powdered metals can be used, including silver, brass, bronze or copper.

What is the MIRROR going to tell us? What pains were the spears emerging from the battle of San Romano, Bismarck sailing into the gallery, a record heralding violence be- aring? Why is the crash of the bombardment of the Holland-Hause Library in London in 1940 still echoing today? Is it these agonies or the hope that we believe the future promises that warp a rainbow? Sarkis’ works reflected from the traces the years left on the walls of his studio and surrounding us are inviting us to remember, to contemplate, and to dream.

The Bismarck, probably Germany’s most famous battleship in WWII, was sunk on May 27th 1941. Sarkis bought a maquette of the ship which he found in Istanbul and created an amazing piece of art. Bismarck was coloured in red lipstick by a woman. As wars are all consequences of the male domination, he used the metaphor of red lipstick as a contrast and placed it onto a mirror to bring the historical issue to our day today and reflect it all the way in the future.

Sarkis’ “Bismarck” in red lipstick