Gülfem Kessler

Voices From Unknown

03.10 - 15.11. 2020

Gülfem Kessler’s 5thsolo show “Voices from Unknown” will be presented by C.A.M. Gallery beginning on the 3rd of October. The exhibition’s opening, which had been scheduled for the 5th of April, has been postponed due to the pandemic; the exhibition grows richer with new productions bythe artist and re-depicts our unsteady world in the context of past, present, and future.


“Our lives became an adventure without future”

Voices from unknown… this notion meaning, lost, unknown, and absent things, at the same time refers to an “imperceptible” universe. Gülfem Kessler named her exhibition as “Voices from Unknown” claiming, “My senses were making provisions for this period”. Forasmuch, all the artworks she produced for the planned exhibition, which couldn’t open on the 5th of April, seem like an articulation of our troubles after the pandemic. In other words, her work is interrelated with our world’s changes throughout the past few months, fundamentally. 


While reality has become an enormous ‘unknown’ after the pandemic, not only in our country but also in our world, we all seek a way to make sense of what we have seen and heard. Now we are faced with a tough process fraught with “what happened/what’s happening” and humanity’s fundamental issues which have never been solved through the ages. Furthermore, time flowing as if it’s in a time lapse, it doesn’t seem to stop bringing us chaotic surprises that can cause greater transformations.  Life is not ‘the life we knew,’ and what we see henceforth shows that what is “visible” is deficient in defining circumstances.  


Gülfem Kessler, emphasizes that she handles this process both as an artist and as an individual, expressing her feelings with: “A species which was re-engineered by humans eliminated all our problems and turned our lives to an adventure without a future. Moreover, our conditions weren’t splendid before pandemic. The notion of future was accepted like reflections of enforced actions and was fulfilled with certain promises. Our lives were a state of unhappy rush, driven by competition, pleasure and power, and the targets that we could never reach…. However, the things we were worrying about back then, at the moment seem quite ridiculous. Now, as human beings, we remain without knowing what we are waiting for. Surprised, because we are used to chasing the control and devastating consequences, in order to possess and rule over. Nevertheless, the chaos is mandatory for humanity’s awakening…. Now we can produce new ideas detached from that fusty memory arising from human experimentation until now.” 


“The ones being stricken going to find their own headlines” 

Almost all of us are living underneath the bombardment of images and we save and immediately share those that attract our attention. That’s exactly why nothing is permanent, but entirely ephemeral. Especially, with the impact of the isolation period that we have gone through during last month’s – which have detached us from everything – understanding, the world became trickier, regarded from our personal bell jars and from virtual worlds. Gülfem Kessler implies with her works that if we look towards the ‘veiled’ but not to the ‘visible’ we can have the chance to understand things intuitively. And while she deals with humans’ incomplete and unaccomplished world experience, she comments on the notion of time as a whole.


Therefore, her oeuvre involves both myth of creation and decomposed monarchy. A digital human who is stuck to their phone or a woman trying to fit into her tight nest… Kessler, like many artists, faces reality, conceives it, argues with it, obeys it, and then recreates it. 

Such as her work entitled “Every day you are going to eat apple” her Eve wearing her poncho with her splendid beauty and frivolity looks to an Adam that she leaves behind. Adam is petrified because of his anger, with his toenails rooted to the ground, wearing a savage and aggressive expression, tries to strike roots to the world by destroying it. All artists hope that their creations find a response from the viewers. While considering the world of 2020, Kessler embeds plenty of details in her works with a sense of humor, emphasizing that when it’s a question of ‘making sense’ she agrees with Mark Rothko’s perspective: “If I have to rely on anything, I prefer the spirit of sensitive audiences, free from stereotypes. As I am sure that they will use these paintings according to their own disposition I’m not worried about their fate.” Although Rothko said that in the mid-1900s, Kessler now expresses it in an even shorter sentiment: “The ones being stricken are going to find their own chapters”  


Gülfem Kessler’s solo show will run until the 15thof November at C.A.M. Gallery. In addition to the works of charcoal on paper, this exhibition also contains tempera technique painted canvas works with vibrant colors. Her works entitled “Your dream is my nightmare”, “Mad lover”, “Indescribable nest”, “Helo helo helo” “ Dream catcher” etc. among others are reflected in a quote by Louise Bourgeois: “Art is the guarantee of sanity!” (Of course, for the audience as well as the creator.)