Opening: October 26th 2023 - 6pm to 9pm
October 26 - December 23, 2023

Gözde Ilkin has been working for fifteen years with found fabrics and embroidery. Through this handcrafted method, she engages in a critical approach to memory and history to deconstruct notions of gender, community, and forms of belonging.

She started by reworking photographs and identity documents through a painstaking sewing technique on found fabrics and decorative rugs with strong imagery such as floral decorative patterns.

However, her drawings gradually developed a metaphorical quality, whereby the human body is associated with other entities, human and non-human. Ilkin engages in a deep re-evaluation of values, beliefs, and personal stories through slow-making, sometimes with collaborators, including her mother. Indeed, collectivity is important for the artist, from the making of the fabrics to the exhibition space, where she often works with choreographers, curators, and dancers.

A decade ago, Ilkin became aware of the reciprocity between the organic and the political, and how ineptly we live in both realms separately. She started collecting plants whose shape and extracts she now often incorporates in her iconography as seen recently in the solo exhibition As the Roots Spoke, the Cracks Deepen (Mac/Val Ivry, 2019) and the group show Rooted Beings (Wellcome Collection, Londres, 2022) which included a series of works produced for the 13th Gwangju Biennial, Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning.

In these series, the humanoid figures of her embroideries expand and interconnect like carnal roots or braided fibres in what seems to be an organic process of becoming rather than the capitalist notions of evolution and progress. This is apparent in the layering of her textile drawings: the cloth pattern, the embroidered figures often overlapping each other, the plant extract expanding on the textile, and the interplay between both sides of the fabric, to name but a few.

In 2022, Ilkin started a project with the Turkish curator Duygu Demir called The Entrusted Ground and which has now evolved into the plural Entrusted Grounds. It is an ongoing reflection on “natureculture”, wrote Demir, citing the American eco-philosopher Donna Haraway. This concept is multifaceted, but it mostly expresses the overlapping of new intersecting histories of species living together in the Holocene, and the need to tell them.

ntrusted Grounds thus invites the viewer to consider the exhibition as an immersive experience rather than a critical evaluation. Hence, its first iteration at artSümer gallery in Instanbul presented embroidered fabrics, suspended modular interactive sculptures, performance and sound to create a tridimensional ‘landscape’. It enriched an art history genre, the landscape, by using landforms as an approach to the exhibition space, for instance. Here, the cave was the framework for the installation as a real space where humans first interacted with the world through drawing, and as a metaphor.

Ilkin’s second individual exhibition at PARIS-B gallery, is part of the Entrusted Grounds series of exhibitions and events. This iteration is titled Invisible Bonds, Companion Roots, thus expressing the complex interweaving socio-politics of an ecosystem.
The sand dune will be the new framework to approach the exhibition space. This powerful metaphor talks about the nomadic quality of both geology and concepts: a dune moves and is reshaped by the wind, the critters living in it, and the quality of its material, the sand, a powerful symbol of time. But it may also be created by our presence on earth and our interaction with it. Invisible Bonds, Companion Roots comprises sculptures, embroideries on found cloths with natural elements added to them, as well as installation.

As in the first iteration of the project in Istanbul, The Entrusted Ground, Ilkin will present the beautiful sketches she makes for each installation.

– Joana P. R. Neves