Belkis Balpinar (1941 Eskisehir, Turkey) is a textile specialist, a writer and researcher, and an artist. Graduated from the Textile Department of Istanbul Fine Arts Academy, the former curator atThe Turkish and Islamic Museum in Istanbul has been creating textile artworks for the last 25 years, working collaboratively with the same master weavers.
A pioneer in her field, she has overcome traditional rules regarding weaving techniques, iconography and format treatment. Doing so, she has projected an ancient skill into the realm of contemporary art. Her works feature in prominent art collections worldwide including the World Bank, Al Gore or Muccia Prada’s.
“Red Sun” includes unique works of art in which Belkis Balpinar interweaves existential ideas about the universe with threads, colour and texture. Tackling motifs related to cosmology and weather phenomena, her unique visual language combines age-old techniques with contemporary thought and science. The selected seven artworks celebrate the ancient skill of weaving that has been based in Anatolia for 12000 years which provides the sense of a time that goes beyond our own existence, making it a potent medium to portray the planets, suns, storms that interest the artist. The human hand underlines how culture informs the reading of the bigger world around us, the relationship between the micro and macro.
The pieces selected for the exhibition demonstrate the various strategies the artist uses to express her topics: Lightning follows the usual long rectangular shape of kilims; The dynamism of the patterns and the complex matrix of the layer of wool give the work a sense of tension while the simple pinning of the textile on the wall gives it fluidity.
In Red Sun - from which the title of the show derives - the artist extends what is traditionally the shape of a circle rug into the space beyond its edge on one side, which brings a sense of movement to the piece.
Red Planet gives way to unbridled and thick wool texture that brings uncanniness to the piece inducing the fascination that we have had and still have towards the planet Mars.
In Global Unwarming, she has left part of the background untouched during the weaving process, making single threads visible. When light falls upon the revealed threads, they cast a shadow on the wall, formulating another layer and compositional deepness. A beautiful idea that makes us reflect on the solutions we do have now to tackle what is an existential threat to humanity.