Through November 3rd, Berlin gallery Peres Projects is currently hosting Köpek, a solo exhibition by artist Melike Kara. For this exhibition, the artist addresses questions of identity, belonging, and alienation through photography, sculpture, and painting, ultimately articulating the multiplicities at the heart of belonging through a series of illustrations of anonymous human, animal, and material groups.
For Kara’s second exhibition at the gallery, the artist has composed a series of paintings depicting group dynamics through brightly colored groups and lone, anonymous figures. These symbols, or stand-ins for human interaction are contained within their own spaces of alienated action, in that they do not seem to belong anywhere but on the canvas. The human-like protagonists of this show could be family members or gods, friends or foes. The symbolic quality of these figures, which have become emblematic for the artist, gains traction in their stubborn refusal to allude to any specificity of gender, age, location, or origin. As the press release states, “this refusal is used to create a pattern of potentiality, defying mere ambiguity.” Indeed, the shifting dynamics and attitudes depicted in this series reflect the infinite possible configurations of individual characters dealing with each other.
The characters, acting out a wide array of relational actions, are at times mounted against large-scale photographs, taken in black and white in either Germany or Turkey, two places that the artist calls home. The photographic wallpapers depict landscapes devoid of human bodies, which nonetheless evoke humanity by revealing the structures and ruins we interact with, construct, and inhabit. The photographs in Turkey are extremely personal, depicting family life and artifacts. The German landscapes, on the other hand, illustrate public life and the invisibility required of immigrant communities living under the demands of integration. In the photographs, as in the paintings, there is the persistent theme of humility. The work serves as part meditation, part intervention into the basic question of what drives and defines humanity. How do appearance, behavior, status, love, and death contribute to the way we as individual people organize ourselves and are organized?
This exhibition blends photography, sculpture and painting to address the questions that have long stood as humanity’s most pressing. Kara throws these questions into stark relief by interrogating the artifacts, myths, attitudes, and dynamics that shape group identity as it moves, settles, and makes room for others across the expanse of history and the world.
The show is on view through November 3rd.
— A. Corrigan
Exhibition Page [Peres Projects]