I finished the installation of my work at Arter today, at around 11.30.

To finish I poured water in the mus of my piece "Connecting to Life." I revisited each piece one last time and then left them there. Now they are separated from me. From now on, I expect them to move on, taking care of one another and fending for themselves. They have prepared themselves for the eyes from outside of the visual world. In two days, the curtain will be raised and the show will begin. Each of them is ready.

They don't need me anymore. Filled with a sweet gloom, I can go now.
Grown in the Backyard, 2013

This comprised old and new work, mainly objects. As I work especially with readymade objects, I need to delve into research. Over time, I find myself in a process of asking a thousand and one questions, traveling around to find those objects, revisiting the places where I came across them. Then, all of a sudden, a process takes over in ways I cannot explain to myself even today. There may be a couple of years between my first encounter with the object and its transformation into an artwork. For me, this process of production is a lengthy journey.
Steel Flowers, 2013

The rose, frequently referred to in literature, is one of the most flamboyant of fowers. The rosebud is dashing and the rose bloom is elegant. With its splendid scent, roses comes in many colours, with endless symbolic connotations and attributes. As if it were itself aware of its beauty, the fower seems to have armed its body with thorns, in order to protect itself from the outer world, making it at once untouchable and uncanny.

In 2009, I rented a car and took a one-day trip to the village of Halfeti for my exhibition at Diyarbakir Art Centre. From Halfeti, I brought the black rose, which modelled for my mural entitled The Black Rose Garden on show at the Art Centre. Today, I still have a pair of black roses on my terrace. These small shrub roses of the Southeast, homeland of endless pains, bloom in June and September every year. You cannot get enough of their velvety petals and scent.

Botany, fowers, ascent, universe, pen, rotating, pointed, sharp, uncanny, untouchable, reflecting, shiny, cold, oil scented... And finally, Steel Flowers bloomed.
At Arter, the space allocated to me to install my work Grown in the Backyard is part of the exhibition space on the third floor. An old building in Beyoglu, Arter houses a stairwell that rises like a DNA helix, connecting the floors. On each floor, one enters the exhibition space through a glass door.

In 2010, I realised my piece Tanpike Spine at Deniz Palas to look like the stairway, the spine of the entire building. Those interconnected small bones that carry our bodies and enable us stand upright are what differentiate us from all the other vertebrates and mammals. To me, the central stairway is something that carries the limbs of the building.
* Photography by Murat Germen
I am collecting veal shinbones, also known as "Ossobuco" by butchers after an Italian dish. What makes these bones so special is the marrow inside, the real reason for the taste of the dish. When the marrow melts into the broth, what we have left is a piece of hollow bone. I am employing some chemical processes to get rid of the sticky organic membrane on the bone.

Now I have a bone as white as chalk. I am collecting these pieces. In fact, I am collecting many other objects, some of which sound very odd to some people: stones, flat balls, shoe irons, pieces of glass, the tops of pegs, hairpins, and many other apparently petty, worthless, meaningless things that I put into my pockets while traveling around the world.

Istanbul, the city I live in, stretches out across a large area. One day, I took a tour on the Bosphorus, guided by Murat Belge. It was a very pleasant day, during which he informed us of the history of the various districts on both sides of the strait. During the tour, we found out that at different times the military has somehow sequestered and commandeered the most popular spots on the Bosphorus. When we got back home, I took out a city map and started to circle the military zones. The city was more like an area parcelled into "forbidden zones." The story of the installation I produced for the "Envy, Enmity, Embarrassment" exhibition is based on this experience. I was playing with the smooth, white bones in my hands, imagining them as knots and I began to link them with fat kebab skewers, which mapped out a sort of parcel tank on the foor.

Sometimes an object waits for years and suddenly finds its place at the right time, in the right form.
The Weight, 2013

In Ortaköy, there is an antique store I drop by to visit when it is open.

Run by Cihan Bey, the store is on a narrow street. Usually, he leaves a note on the door with his cell phone number on it. I have never felt the need to call this number. If the store is open, I walk in politely. All around the store, there is one thing on top of another, so I try to move only as minimally as possible in order not to knock anything over. I often think he is deliberately keeping the store so messy. On one of the days the store was open, he welcomed me with that smile that never disappears beneath his dark beard. Inside, under the dim light, while I was studying The Cave of Chan Bey, my eyes alighted on a shell casing. After some friendly bargaining, I purchased the casing with the year 1938 engraved on it. He offered to polish the brass casing, which had some oxidation. So, having confidence in him, I entrusted him with the casing. On my way back home, I didn't think much about what I could do with this new object I had bought. I was rather excited about having bought it. A couple of days later, I went back to the store to pick up the shiny yellow object. Cihan Bey wrapped it in newspaper and I took it, heading back home, carrying it over my shoulder. Was it an empty casing or a loaded shell? Damn thing felt heavier as I walked uphill, the slope getting steeper.
Burden, 2013

No hope, no remedy, no expectant
Who feeds the dog tonight
A burnt-out saucepan
Lightly he slipped his finger in
He drew a spiral channel towards the centre
From the centre he lifted his finger
He inhaled and licked the tilled ash
Shook his head, feeling heavy, troublingly

The absoluteness of the universe wallowing in ashes