According to plate tectonics, the earth’s outer shell is divided into a number of large, rigid, moving plates that interact at their boundaries, where they converge, diverge, or slide past one another. Such interactions are believed to be responsible for most of the seismic and volcanic activity of the earth. Plates cause mountains to rise where they push together, and continents to fracture and oceans to form where they rift apart. The continents, sitting passively on the backs of the plates, drift with them, at the rate of a few centimeters a year. At the end of the Permian, some 300 million years ago, all the present continents are said to have been gathered together in a single supercontinent, Pangaea.
In her second solo exhibition titled Finding the Edge at Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm, Meriç Algün has made a series of new works that draws parallels between the separation of the continents and the origins of human desire. Algün’s investigation stems from the Canadian poet Anne Carson’s insightful book Eros: The Bittersweet (1983) where she speaks of love and desire as an issue of boundaries and separation. The first room of the exhibition space is occupied by a freestanding shelving structure that is cut into seven units on site. The measurements of each unit correspond proportionally to the surface area of each continent, whilst the gaps between the rows of shelves correlate to the surface area of the oceans. In their self-contained logic, the shelves hold a variety of objects ranging from plants and animal fossils, to globes, hand made books, videos and sculptures that intertwine notions of geological and human boundaries and connections.
In the second room stands a conversation chair made in cherry wood and rattan. Whilst the chair is essentially designed to allow two people to face each other, it also separates them with the woven material through which they can only partially see each other. The work not only hints at the relationship between two people but also at the relationship between fragmented parts of a whole. Algün juxtaposes the chair with a wall text that is a short passage from a novel she is currently working on. The overall exhibition brings together her interest in understanding what drives people apart and what happens in the space that lies in between.