Ayşe Erkmen, whose practice, and in particular, site-specific works are etched in memory, takes the social and physical environment that she is in as a starting point and by repositioning the existing structure in her particular style, impels viewers to think about space. Her works, which make spaces experiential, do not exhibit a concern for forming a formal language. Instead, the artist invites her viewers to engage in a dialogue with the physical, visual, social, and psychological dimensions of environments, such as museums, gallery windows, exhibition spaces, parks, rivers and squares. The contemporaneity of Erkmen’s works is derived from her pointing to the already-existing in different forms. While she makes ‘sculptural’ propositions in her temporary interventions, taking the space as is in exhibition locations, she adds on as few ‘foreign’ elements as possible. Reconfiguring the objects and relationships in spaces that we encounter daily or sporadically by disrupting or getting rid of them, Erkmen interweaves art and life, forming singular areas. The artist thus makes visible models of socializing that open up reality; the works are complete only when there are viewers present.
Ayşe Erkmen (b. 1949, Istanbul) graduated from Department of Sculpture, Mimar Sinan University in 1977. In 1993, she participated in the DAAD International Artist Residency Programme (Berliner Künstlerprogramm) in Berlin. Erkmen worked as the Arnold Bode Professor at Kassel Art Academy from 1998 to 1999, and as lecturer at Frankfurt Städelschule from 2000 to 2007. In 2002, she was awarded the Maria Sibylla Merian Prize of Hessen Province, Germany. Among the numerous international exhibitions Erkmen has participated in are the 2nd, 3rd and 13th Istanbul Biennial; the Turkish pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale; Manifesta 1, Shanghai, Berlin, Gwangju, Sharjah Limerick and Scape Biennials; and the Folkestone and Echigo Tsunami Triennials. Her more recent shows include Pond to Pool to Pond, Saidaji Temple, Nara (2016); Uncertain States, Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2016); “A” Exhibition, SMAK, Ghent (2016); Strange Pilgrims, Austin Contemporary (2016); Imaginary Audience Scale, Auckland Art Space (2015); Fingerspitzgefühl, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin (2015); Une Histoire Art, Architecture et Design des Annees 1980 à nos Jours, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014); Ayşe Erkmen: Intervals, Barbican Centre, London (2013); More Than Sound, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2012). Erkmen participated in the 2017 edition of Skulptur Projekte Münster with a new project entitled On Water. She lives and works in Berlin and Istanbul.