“A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN”
Leica Gallery Istanbul is pleased to host the exhibition “A Room of One’s Own” by Meltem Işık, Charlotte Schmitz, Tahmineh Monzavi and Cansu Yıldıran which will run from March 22nd 2018 to May 5th 2018.
The exhibition takes its name from the book “A Room of One’s Own” written by Virginia Woolf, one of the most remarkable modernist novelists of 20th century. Woolf talks about the disadvantages of being a woman in the male-dominated art world - particularly in the literary scene- and proposes ways to bring out women’s creativity through stories that oscillate between reality and fiction. The book is inspired by Woolf’s speech to female students in Cambridge University and was published in 1929, the year after women were allowed to vote. Woolf criticized the important British male authors, poets and critics of her period due to their attitudes towards women and claims that a woman needs a room for herself and economic independence in order to write freely. Woolf creates a fictional character in the 16th century, Judith Shakespeare (Shakespeare’s imaginary sister) in order to illustrate that women are denied certain opportunities even when they have the same talents, because they are confined to household tasks.
The challenges that are addressed in the book “A Room of One’s Own” can still transcend today’s world view and are expressed through the works of four women artists in the exhibition. The artists are inspired by personal experience or by combining reality and fiction, just like Woolf. Each artist comes from a different part of the world and with her own photographic language, brings out obsolete values and the expectations that still trap women today.
Based on her own family experience, Cansu Yıldıran created the series "The Dispossessed" portraying hard-working women who are deprived from the right to own property in the flatlands of the Black Sea region of Turkey.
German photographer Charlotte Schmitz photographed the lives of her neighbors as she lived in Balat, Istanbul for two years. In her project "I am so beautiful, so beautiful" she documented patterns of behavior of women that privatize beauty and marriage.
Iranian artist Tahmineh Monzavi who focuses on the social problems and especially women issues in the Middle East creates a fictional beauty Iran in the “Crown Giver” series, which takes its name from an old beauty pageant in Iran. Her other work in the exhibition takes place in the old parliament of Afghanistan which had been ruined during the war, depicting a female musician playing the traditional instrument “robab”.
Meltem Işık, in her series “Twice into the Stream”, explores one’s relationship with her body and the notion of watching and being watched at the same time.
Cansu Yıldıran (Istanbul, 1996) is studying photography at The Faculty of Fine Arts In Marmara University. She examines issues such as gender, cultural identity and discrimination in her works. Since her series “The Dispossessed” which is based on the story of her own family, she has been continuing to work on the theme “belonging” by using sound, video and photography. Yildiran participated in many exhibitions and workshops such as Noks Independent Art Space (Istanbul, 2017 - 2018), FailBooks Publisher (Istanbul, 2017), Diyarbakir Photography and Youth Project (Diyarbakir, 2017), Confusion (Macao Viale Molise Milano, 2017), Visa Woman Paper (Visa Pour I'Image, France, 2017), FUAM Fotobook Studio (2017), Bursa Photography Festival (Bursa, 2016) and Istanbul Photography Festival (Istanbul, 2016).
Charlotte Schmitz (Cologne, 1988) studied photojournalism and documentary photography at the Applied Sciences and Arts in University of Hanover. While living in Istanbul for two years, she photographed the private lives of her neighbors and worked for several German and international media outlets. As a member of AgenceLeJournal, her works expose contemporary issues from using classic ways. Some of her recent shows took place at Alfstad&Gallery (USA, 2018), PH Museum (UK, 2018), University of Indiana(USA, 2017), Nazareth College, Rochester(USA, 2017), FotoForum (Austria, 2017), Erfurter Kunstverein (Germany, 2016), Intersection 611 Gallery (Japan, 2016), SUPA Suriye Pasaji (Turkey, 2016), Hellerau Photography Award (Germany, 2015), Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism (Germany, 2014), Berlin Fashion Week (Germany, 2014), Visa Off (France, 2014).
Tahmineh Monzavi (Teheran, 1988) is an Iranian documentary photographer and filmmaker with bachelor degree in photography from Azad Art & Architecture University of Tehran. She concentrates on social problems, especially women issues in her documentary photography series. Monzavi directed a feature length documentary film called “Grape Garden Alley” about a shelter for addicted women in Teheran (2010-2012). Nowadays, she works on the effects of war on historical architecture and people in Iran and Afghanistan. Her works were shown in some international institutes such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Literature Museum of Georgia, Maxxi Museum of Roma, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (National Museum of Modern Art in Paris).
Meltem Işık (Ankara, 1977) received her BFA in Graphic Design major in Bilkent University (Ankara) and her AAS in Jewelry Design in the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York). In 2011, she completed her MA in the Department of Visual Arts at Sabancı University (Istanbul). Currently, Işık is doing her PhD in the Design, Technology and Society program at Ozyegin University (Istanbul).
Through her extra-ordinary compositions of photographic images, Meltem Işık questions the way we see and perceive the human body. The complexity that originates from the capability of our bodies to see and be seen simultaneously forms the basis of her works. In addition to her solo shows, “Twice into the stream” (2012) in Gallery Nev and “Suspicious affinities” (2015), she also took place in international art fairs and group shows including “What Story?” exhibition at Kasa Gallery (2017), “Body” exhibition realized in the context of European Capital of Culture in Wroclaw (2016), Foto Istanbul International Photography Festival (2015), Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair (2012, 2015).