Özlem Altin

selected works | exhibitions | texts | biography
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Özlem Altin
»Cathartic ballet«
27.04.–15.06.2013 | Opening 26.04.2013, 6–9 pm

'Cathartic ballet’ develops a choreographed ontology addressing the silent shifts between movement and abidance, presence and absence, inertia and performance. Gradually unfolding in space, the exhibition discloses lyrical sociologies of psychological states. Entering the hallway, the viewer is confronted with two black-and-white photo prints depicting a girl’s body suspended in the branches of a tree. Although her head reclines peacefully, the softening of the body's catharsis seems to have awoken something less benign. The second print repeats the motif, yet captures a different momentum, and thus resolves the initial moment of suspense – animating the pose while activating the seemingly inanimate.

‘Untitled (Mädchen im Baum)’ functions as a prologue to the main exhibition space, where wall works and sculptures gather to form a macabre choreography that oscillates at the threshold of perception. A group of three sculptures is loosely arranged in amorphous constellations, occupying the space like petrified bodies. As in ‘Usher’, where the sculpture’s physicality is that of a fatigued dancer, a retired body that still arches with its strained engineering. In other sculptural works, we witness frail bodies in slumber; they lean against one another, using the floor and wall for support. The epidermis of these objects resonates in the wall works – obscured portraits, which have been subjected to various layers of paint and collage, reluctantly appearing in the realm of the visible in order to render the invisible palpable. This interplay of becoming and dissolving culminates in 'Whispering hands', a pair of litho prints, which shows a man’s countenance (and its parallel echo). The superimposition of out-of-sync images creates the effect of ghostlike hands and obscured faces vibrating back and forth in gestures of despair. Although doubled, their presence has the density of smoke.

Operating at the intersection of somatic and discursive communication, Altin’s work re-attunes our attention to a culturally occluded sense of ‚immaterial’ phenomena: to soft murmurs, dark omissions, voids and dusk, 'an unfathomable silence that no voice can adequately render'. (‘The Politics of Aesthetics’, Jacques Ranciere, 2009).

Özlem Altin (b. in Goch, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. This is her third solo exhibition with Circus, Berlin. Other recent solo exhibitions include ‘Rhythm of Resemblance’, Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Dueren (2012) and ‘Ianus (My memory of what happened is not what happened)’, Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples (2010). Selected group exhibitions include Balice Hertling (2013), Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen, Siegen (2012), SVIT, Prague (2012), David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2011) and Kunstraum Innsbruck (2011).