Deniz Aktaş’s ongoing series No Man’s Land captures urban decay, environmental collapse, human evacuation and migration, and the traumatic transformation of cities and nature alike. Aktaş presents, along with his smaller works, two new drawings called The Ruins of Hope. The works allude to Caspar David Friedrich’s painting The Wreck of Hope (1823–24), depicting a capsized ship lying within a broken ice sheet. The black and white drawings, done in ink, convey the desolation of humans who have made their mark on nature and are obliterated by its indifference.

Aktaş (b. 1987, Diyarbakır, Turkey) lives and works in Diyarbakır. He completed his BFA in painting in Marmara University and MFA in Yeditepe University. In his drawings, Aktaş delves into urban memory traumas through carefully depicted images that bear the marks of urban transformation, forced evictions, demolishment and traces of social conflict. Aktaş participated in Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, artist residency programme (2016). Before his first solo exhibition No Man’s Land at artSümer, Istanbul (2018), he participated in duo/group shows Impossible Space, Kasa Gallery, Istanbul (2017); Poser Son Temps, On-Off Site, Paris (2017); Wider den Grautönen, Pasinger Fabrik Gmbh, Munich (2016); Open Space, Pilot, Istanbul (2016) and Mythologies, 3rd Mardin Biennial (2015) among others.

EXHIBITED WORKS

Untitled, 2019
Ink on paper
70 × 100 cm
Courtesy the artist and artSümer.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Co-produced by the 16th Istanbul Biennial and MO.CO. Montpellier Contemporain with the support of SAHA–Supporting Contemporary Art from Turkey.

Independent Variable, 2018
Ink on paper
70 × 100 cm
Courtesy the artist and artSümer.

Ruins of Hope 2, 2019
Ink on paper
120 × 270 cm
Courtesy the artist and artSümer.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Co-produced by the 16th Istanbul Biennial and MO.CO. Montpellier Contemporain with the support of SAHA–Supporting Contemporary Art from Turkey.

Ruins of Hope 1, 2019
Ink on paper
120 × 310 cm
Courtesy the artist and artSümer.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Co-produced by the 16th Istanbul Biennial and MO.CO. Montpellier Contemporain with the support of SAHA–Supporting Contemporary Art from Turkey.

Yukarı