Deniz Türkoğlu

Rakı Sofrası (BYOB) (2019)

Video and sculpture installation
4 channel video projection, rakı and meze table set for four
Dimensions vary

This ten minute time capsule of a “rakı” dinner abroad offers a conversation of displacement and identity, curiosity and voyeurism, as viewers surround the dinner table occupied by large scale, close-up projections of the diners.

By the Water (2019)

Video and sculpture installation
2 channel video projection, wood, fabric, 3×7′ tent
Dimensions Vary

The tent offers a space for confrontation and reflection beneath the surface of the waves projected onto it. This space is interrupted by the “other”, as participants walk through the projection on the outside and cast their shadows.

Dağ Gibi Kadın (2020)

Light and sculpture installation
Bed sheets and pillows on bed, lit by iPhone flashlight 54’’(W), 65’’(L), 76’’(H)

(Woman Like a Mountain) Pondering on being on top as a woman. Or being the top altogether. Body as a strong, grounded and glorious geography. In Turkish a resilient man is often compared to a mountain. How about a woman?

Cuddle Me (2020)

Video on Loop

The intimacy between bodies of nature and human bodies co-exist within an endless geological and anthropological time. A wave splashes against a rock, flows over and pulls back again just as a hand caresses a body. Each touch shapes the other forever. A cuddling in sync within the rhythm of being alive.

Artist Statement

It is a strength to wonder, when the urge “to google” is stronger and often more accessible than exploring questions within, without the worry of the inner life as something distracting or deceiving. Through my art, in mediums of video, sculpture and installation, I create encompassing, intimate and voyeuristic spaces for bodies and minds to slow down and listen to this inner dialogue.

My interest in the separation between an inner self and outer persona is informed by my background in acting. Now, I no longer act but make art that both acknowledges and explores the honesty and vulnerability of the personal and collective spirit beneath our socially constructed filters.

I play with scale in my sculptures and installations to immerse bodies inside forms, to metaphorically bring the social self on the outside back to interact with the emotions and thoughts of the being within. When working with video, light and projection, I enlarge images of intimate and private moments through projection and multiple channels. With transparency and unity becoming more sheltered, I find pleasure in taking a closer look. The voyeuristic experience is crucial for my practice through big scale projections and sculptures of bodies in vulnerable stillness.

I long to reveal narratives of displacement. Moving to United States after being born and raised in Turkey, I became hyper-aware of habits, thoughts and emotions that remain within a mind and body as imprints of a time and place past. Filters lingering as residues, even though the circumstances that impose them cease to exist. Playing with separating color channels of red, green and blue that form full color when aligned within an image, my visuals reflect my interaction with time.

I explore how the past, present and future are cumulative and simultaneous within the imprints they leave on our body and spirit in memories. I find that video embodies this displacement both on the physical and emotional level. The act of recording and playback break the simultaneity between the screened visuals and the screening space, removing moments from their original spatial and temporal source into pixels.

I find that video embodies the same displacement both on the physical and emotional level. The act of recording and playback break the simultaneity between the screened visuals and the screening space. Removed from its original spatial and temporal source, the displacement in video into pixels inspires me to use alternative forms of viewing such as projection on different surfaces and use multichannel.

I find displacement not only between cultures but also within my body. I long to be in nature, yet I sleep in the comfort of my apartment. I focus on similarities between the human figure, and geography within my pieces. I portray the body’s curves, muscles and wrinkles as landscapes through manipulation of size and placement. I turn to materials of nature such as earth and clay in sculptures. My videos often adopt bodies of water as their subject. Being named after the sea, Deniz, I work closely with waves, their movement, pattern and rhythm in forming meaning and visuals. Water as an energy and archetype, as well as a source of life, maintenance and healing inspires my thinking and concepts.

Interacting with my inner life, I find vulnerability in my instincts and honesty in my worries. Instead of suppressing this life within me, slowing down and reflecting with compassion, I try to connect with and share my truth. Digging deeper into what drives my curiosity forward, I work to create artworks that inspire a conversation with our inner selves, instead of suppression through societal fear and judgement. We are natural more than anything else.