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Hera Büyüktaşçiyan

Hera Büyüktaşçiyan is based in Istanbul and creates installation, sound, performance, sculpture and video. She completed her BFA in Painting from Marmara University.

She has exhibited extensively throughout Istanbul including at the Pera Museum and participated in the 2015 Istanbul Biennale. In addition, she has shown internationally at the 2018 Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh; 2016 EVA International Biennial, Limerick, Ireland; and was the youngest participant in the group exhibition representing the Armenian Pavilion in the 56th Venice Biennale, which was awarded the Gold Lion Prize. Past residencies include Delfina Foundation, London; Villa Waldberta, Munich; AIRDrop, Stockholm; PiSt/// Interdisciplinary Project Space, Istanbul and ACSL, Yerevan. 

Hera’s residency occurred September 1–22, 2018. 

During her three-week residency in Bataan, Hera drew inspiration from the architecture of the heritage houses at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, specifically the capiz windows. Taking visual and mental notes of certain aspects of the Filipino consciousness—its forms and identities, that more or less reflect the idea of things that are hidden inside and things that you cannot see further–which relates with the identity and physical role of the capiz windows.

Her experience during her stay in one of the rooms with capiz shell windows evoked a sense of safety and uncanniness at the same. “I could hear the waves of the sea (that could swallow you) and the oncoming threatening storm, but I couldn’t see them too. If there was a thief you would be able to see his shadow and hear him but not completely see him,” she continues, “the capiz windows acted as a filter of the mind.” This filter of the mind coincided with her observation that Filipinos don’t often talk about history and its negative connotations because they have this capiz filter in their minds. 

Hera’s experiment with capiz shells resulted in three types of kinetic sculptures. The first one was made from capiz window ruins from an old house. She was fascinated with how the collapsing pieces formed an abstract grid form. She juxtaposes triangular and square windows with a moving mechanism to be able to combine them to result in a moving object where you can see and cannot see what is behind, so it gives you the idea of the effort to see what is behind everything. 

The second sculpture also made from scrap capiz windows is titled “Seldom Seen, Soon Forgotten” and reflects the different forms of usage of bamboo sticks seen around Bagac villages and how something concrete (like house and bamboo) can be easily turned into a new form when disturbed. This sculpture touches on the idea of hallucination and its correlation with the wind and whirlpool. 

Seldom Seen, Soon Forgotten

And the last piece is like a continuation of the second series and also plays with sound and shadow. It can both see through and imprint something that does not exist. Hera mentions that, “light is something that makes things visible and darkness makes them invisible, [but at the same time] visible too with the shadows.” With this last work, the physicality of the capiz becomes visible when the light passes through which creates shadows that reveals a grid form.

Hera’s works relate with water, the sea, and the waves. But these waves can be waves of time–especially these big volume of wave of events both tragic and positive. And the urge to make the kinetic sculptures is to relate them with nature and how she feels with the  nature and how a moment makes you situate yourself in the space.

A second version of this work was exhibited in “Every Step in the Right Direction” at the 2019 Singapore Biennale.

“Seldom Seen, Soon Forgotten” is currently on display at Casa Quiapo at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

Seldom Seen, Soon Forgotten installation at Casa Quiapo.

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