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Integration with Nature

For a long time, Elmas Deniz has been working on the subject of nature and the ways in which nature is perceived by people: Animals, trees, and even the smallest aspects of nature are components of her art practice. She realizes her videos using irony at times and at times, she establishes a reverent relationship with nature.

The notion/concept of ‘nature’ belongs to an era of scientific knowledge period that has been developed in relation to the history of humanity and thought through social sciences and philosophy in the 19th century. It entered art history from a philosophical perspective; in particular with German Romanticism that started with Burke and continued with Kant and Hegel.

The aesthetic of the sublime with regard to nature in art emerged in the 19th century as people believed that they were changing nature and other individuals. It belongs to a period of thought, especially in the 19th century when nature was brought up again and admiration for nature combined with admiration for art. Kant's concept of the "sublime" was introduced at this time. According to this idea, a color, for example, the color of the leaves of the grass or of the leaves of the trees, changing its shades with light is said to be related to beauty in a pure manner. The sensation and feeling of the colors of nature strengthen and enable a person to breathe.

Particularly, with urbanization that began with the 19th century, artists tried to escape into the rural areas to paint, in order to avoid the pollution and noise of the cities, as art history shows. Today, the same fear grasps not only artists but societies as a whole. In this sense, although the judgment of taste varies for everyone, it concerns everyone as a universal problem. This feeling is much more powerful and independent of the quest for perfection.

Art and art of nature are not the same things, but an artist who depicts an object of nature in painting or in a video is thinking in relation to the form of the artwork and reflect this in their work.

In her solo exhibition at Açıkekran New Media Arts Gallery, Elmas Deniz focuses on nature in her artistic works. The exhibition shows the view of nature with its "sublime feeling" filled images. In the video “Human-less”, Elmas Deniz presents nature with all its beauty and wilderness. We see that the form and lines of the mountains form the forces of nature. The artist communicates the feelings of the beautiful and the sublime to us. In a sense, the work shows the frightening impact of humanless-ness when faced with the beauty that Kant defines as the “horrible sublime” to such an extent that it reveals how nature cannot be fully observed by human beings and that such a human gaze is impossible. The beautiful landscape becomes a source of sadness. It starts to become scary and uncanny; it becomes alienated from us.

The video “Made to be seen” features the intersection of the gaze of those who left the city and the encounter with mother nature. Relief and breathing are the most important elements of the life that nature has gifted to us. In this video, the artist uses the logic of using images of nature in advertisements, dealing with people’s desire to own things.

Elmas Deniz appears to use artistic irony in her video “The Tree I want to Buy”, an attempt to comprehend the desire of urbanites to consume. In the video, she looks for the owner of the tree she wants to buy, looking at questions of value and how the value of such a magnanimous (perhaps sublime) tree can be seen. She thus gazes at a world in which the tree has become a consumption good.

Nature is Elmas Deniz’s main subject matter. In that sense, as people appear to be directed towards a new phase, we are reminded that there is a move towards a different paradigm in relation to our interactions with nature. The new vectors of the social and natural worlds are now facing this direction. Because nature is not only a space that feeds us and lets us breathe; it is also the only possibility for our biological bodies to survive.

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