November Paytner

9th Istanbul Biennale 2005

from exhibition catalogue © IKSV

An apartment in the Deniz Palas venue provides the perfect domestic environment for this series of works by Kocyigit. The installation comprises little touches of magic that transform everyday items and form a dialogue between separate works. In the entrance hall, a broom, its brush a wig of hair – a literal translation of a Turkish idiom used by wives to express anger at their husbands – sweeps past on its tour of the apartment. In another room stands a fridge, its door, which is held ajar, is referred to in the crocheted text work: ‘Sometimes I check the fridge ten times to see if it is really closed’. The laboriousness and repetition of such paranoia is reflected in the intricate stitching, undertaken by two old ladies, to contain a phrase that can be read and checked via the fridge time and time again. The fridge, though empty, is lit inside. The contrast this creates and its secretive glow generates a similar childish delight to the lit and dazzlingly beautiful chandelier resting in the cart of a lowly rag and bone man in a staged photograph hung in a room next door.

Kocyigit’s initial influence – the daily routine of a Turkish housewife – governs the installation providing a narrative of everyday existence conditioned by cultural convention and tradition. Yet this conjured character also reveals eccentricities and enchantment to be found in the ordinary and mundane. As the wife’s imaginary presence filters from one room to the next, objects and appliances come to life and her private, internal world merges with the vitality of the streets outside.

Madeline Nusser

Istnabul Biennale

2005 © Contemporary art magazine issue 78

“ In one apartment, Istanbul-based artist Servet Koçyigit actually reveals what it is, in the prosaic sense, to be Turkish – something that the show could have included more of. Rooms are strewn with household objects; rendered useless, they take on metaphoric meaning. A fridge has carved into the floor through the repetitive opening and shutting of its door; brightly coloured stitches covering houseplants excessively beautify the home, and a broom of hair attached to a track on the ceiling sweeps the floorboards over and over again. Uselessness and repetition present the endless cycle of domesticity, while each object’s beauty – craft spawned by monotonous labour – points to a rich and mysterious side of domestic work.”