Anna Laudel Contemporary presents a solo exhibition entitled “Un-Weave” by the acclaimed artist Belkıs Balpınar who has pioneered the art of weaving in Turkey and considered to be one of the most inventive practitioners of the “art-kilim” medium within and beyond Turkey’s borders.
Belkıs Balpınar is known to be the first name in Turkey to produce contemporary art works by using traditional weaving techniques. She has been producing works using the traditional rug texture inspired by scientific themes including different spatial planes; microcosm - macrocosm; quantum physics and galaxies. These themes are also her subject of study, she expresses that the books she has been reading in the field of physics and astronomy have been the main sources of her inspiration. Balpınar also investigates the theoretical and practical aspects of perception and imperception both as a scholar and an artist.
Balpınar treats the forms she is creating on the rug texture as a reflection of the movements in the space and gives depth to her works by adding motifs on plain rug warps. Her motifs touch upon the relationship between space and the unlimited aspect of shadows which also adds dimension to her works. The artist states that, Albert Einstein’s theory which claims the existence of the fourth dimension through planes of space and time has had a great effect on herself and her production. Thus, she produces works reflecting the contribution of science to arts and culture.
Balpınar points out that contemporary artists are more focused on the current chaos and issues of the world whilst she is interested in the essence of our being, looking from a relatively more universal point of view and states that “The world that human beings created is very complicated. However, in the billion-galaxy and billions of stars within them, we see a regularity and order which is a result of our perception of time. Many artists are trying to find and reflect on something from the chaos throughout the world. Yet, I try to capture images that imply spaces created by the movements of the galaxies and planets in the micro state, or particles in the micro-space that seem more ordinate in regards to our understanding of time.”
Today, there are many internationally recognised textile artists across the world including countries where there is no tradition of textile. On the contrary, Turkey is one of the centres for textile-weaving which is known with its tradition of characteristic rugs and kilims. Still, the application of weaving doesn’t reflect on the field of contemporary art. In this regard, Balpınar is one of the prominent figures of this field who has developed and applied modern ideas to various weaving techniques. Over the years, she has created a new technique of weaving which she calls “un-weaving”, it means weaving the first plane and leaving the background untouched. By this way she discovered that the forms existing in space are better expressed and also it creates a three-dimensional pictorial plane that can be seen as a form of woven painting.
After graduating from the Textile Department of Istanbul Fine Arts Academy, Belkıs Balpınar worked as a curator at the Carpet Department of Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and as the founding director of Istanbul Foundations’ Carpet Museum. Since 1986, the artist has been known as the pioneer of the field called “art kilim” with her works made by using the traditional rug texture in a contemporary context, inspired by different spatial planes of earth and microcosm.
As a researcher and writer, Balpınar has written books and articles regarding rugs and carpets, and also gives conferences in this field both in Turkey and abroad. Balpınar, who designed the pieces of rugs for the entrance walls of The World Bank building in Washington DC and entrance walls of the Aramco Centre in Saudi Arabia, Zahran, also had exhibitions in Istanbul, Ankara, New York, Princeton, Washignton DC, Stockholm, Caracas, Milano, Tokyo, Ljubljana, Moscow and Bahrain. In addition, the artist has participated in group shows such as Modernist Exhibition in New York and Galleria Nilufar (Italy) in Art Basel Miami Art Fair. Some of the special collections that feature Balpınar’s works are; Miuccia Prada, Milano; World Bank, Washington D.C .; Bernard Chappard, New York, Caracas; Lary Sanitzky, Los Angeles; Economy Bank, Istanbul; Nilufar Gallery, Milano; Marmara Manhattan Hotel, New York; Ignazio Vok, Padua; Al Gore, Nashville.
Belkıs Balpınar has been living and working in Bodrum since 2006.