Hale Tenger’s new solo exhibition at Galeri Nev Istanbul takes its inspiration and title from Edip Cansever’s poem, “Where the Winds Rest.” Evocations from the poem evolve into the artist’s visual language, cast loose from the text, creating visual and sentimental encounters that are both familiar and uncanny. According to Sigmund Freud’s conceptualisation, the feeling of “uncanny” occurs when something unfamiliar is encountered in the present, which used to be familiar in the past. The “uncanny” is the return of what is actually suppressed in the mind, the familiar becoming alien and manifesting itself with various effects. Within this context, in “Where the Winds Rest”, some hidden elements of our individual/collective memory begin to resurface in the gallery space. Along with Cansever’s prolific lines, the space Tenger created is based on the ambiguity of language and memory. While incorporating the process of reckoning with the individual and collective buried past, the exhibition also maps the intricate ties between desire and sorrow, vitality and exhaustion, memory and forgetting, silence and denial. The misty, dim and crannied atmosphere inside the exhibition space reflects on diverse encounters: with the dualities and disparities in nature, with collective memory, and individual encounters with inner dichotomies.
Inspired by the same poem, in her installation “Where the Winds Rest” (2007) Tenger projected Cansever’s two lines on the walls of a dimly lit room filled with fans: “Didn’t we pull the body out from underwater / We didn’t pull the body out from underwater.” Returning to it 12 years later, this time Hale Tenger tackles the poem in its entirety, blending in her associations with it, she transforms the lines into a visual experience. Tenger’s works often emanate from literary writings and similarly her installation “Portrait of Kant” (1994) originated from the essay by Bolesław Micińsky, with the same title. In his author’s note Micińsky indicated that he wanted to paint Immanuel Kant’s portrait only with “words.” The statement was the motivation for Tenger for transforming the text into a three-dimensional narrative and in a similar manner, the artist returns to the poem “Where the Winds Rest” for her exhibition at Galeri Nev Istanbul. Thus, while the exhibition embodies Tenger’s own “encounters” with herself from varying timeframes, it also opens up a new space for the viewer to reconsider the relationship between image and text.