In Dreams, Bengü Karaduman Finds a Better Logic for Life

Bengü Karaduman exists between dreams and reality. “I believe that dreams are also a way of thinking, another form of reality,” she has said, speaking about her evocative drawings, sculptures, and immersive video installations, in which she filters her own life experiences through a sort of dream logic.

Karaduman’s new exhibition at Galerie Priska Pasquer, “Ideas disperse in the universe in order to continue to live on other planets,” takes its title from a line in a poem by Meret Oppenheim—the renowned Surrealist distinguished for her fur-lined teacup. Oppenheim’s biting, erotic works inspire Karaduman’s own investigations into feminism and female sexuality, politics, capitalism, and consumerism in the 21st century, especially as they play out in the fraught ideological climate of her native Turkey. She offers her work as a critique of and antidote to a culture that fetters individual (and especially female) expression, encouraging us to suspend disbelief and give over to the visions she presents.

In the paired video works Daypole and Nightpole (both 2013), she assumes the role of a shaman, whose ancient healing practices she believes would do us all much more good than our computer operating systems. Elevator doors slide efficiently up and down the screen, opening not onto office floors, but otherworldly landscapes. Here we follow a spritely shamanic guide past animals and natural scenes, so disconnected from our man-made surroundings. Remember where you come from, she seems to say, and that you can go back.

The suite of new drawings in the exhibition, a selection of which will also be on view at the gallery’s Art Paris Art Fair booth, features a different kind of protagonist: a sort of everywoman stand-in for Karaduman, and for us, who negotiates the surrealistic scenarios in which she finds herself. This figure is echoed in her doll-like sculptures and stems directly from her dreams. Full of ambiguity, the drawings and sculptures invite free-association and interpretation, practices that remind us, as the artist claims and hints at in all of her work: “your perspective constructs your reality.”

“Ideas disperse in the universe in order to continue to live on other planets,” is on view at Galerie Priska Pasquer from March 15–June 7, 2014.

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