This is the first major solo show by Gülsün Karamustafa (Ankara, 1946) in Spain. And an excellent opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the work of arguably the most internationally acclaimed living Turkish artist and one of the most unique voices in contemporary art.
It would be nigh on impossible to understand her work unless we take into account what the city of Istanbul means both for her personal life and her art practice. Istanbul, not just for Turkey but also for the rest of the world, is much more than a metropolis at the crossroads between Asia and Europe, between the East and the East: one might even say that Istanbul is a world in itself.
Historically, Istanbul has always been a cosmopolitan city with a vast cultural and religious wealth; a geographic melting pot that makes it the true antithesis of homogenous culture. The coexistence and exchanges between the many highly different communities in the city have guaranteed the survival of its cultural legacy.
And Gülsün Karamustafa’s practice is solidly grounded in its culture and people, while at once looking outwards to the wider world, making her an artist fully engaged and committed with her time, keenly interested in pushing the envelope of concepts, materials, ideas and artistic spaces. She straddles two worlds (that have often turned their backs on one another) in order to offer us the best of both. She is a key artist in understanding that is no longer possible to conceive human life based on a world of irreconcilable opposites.
As one can see in this exhibition, in her work, Karamustafa teaches us how to open our minds, to be freer, to value those things that often elude us because we are blinded by stereotypes. Her works are like an open window on a virtually unknown world of great wealth.