Kilimli Konak*

[* lit. ‘The Mansion with Rugs’]
Leylâ Gediz lives, with her husband and three cats, in a flat in an apartment block in the Topağacı area of the Teşvikiye neighbourhood, home to numerous authors, poets and musicians in the post-Republican period of Turkey. It is in the living room of this flat that she will hold her next solo exhibition.
 
This installation by Gediz, who was born, in 1974, and raised in the same neighbourhood, is no doubt a project that may be considered to be of an independent nature, when compared to her collaborations with art institutions to date. However, the exhibition also represents an acknowledgement and expression of Gediz’s socio-political identities that overlap with this part of the city. 
 
Prof. Mukbil Gökdoğan (1909-1992), the architect of the Kilimli Konak apartment block, which lends its name to this exhibition, and his wife Nüzhet Toydemir, lived for many years in this flat. Nüzhet Toydemir Gökdoğan (1910-2003) is the first female astronomer, first female dean and first female senator of Turkey. Gönül Gökdoğan (1940-), who was also raised in this flat, is the first female professor of violin in the history of the Republic. Vedat Nedim Tör (1897-1985), another renowned figure who lived in this apartment, served as the director of Ankara Radio, acted as cultural advisor to the Yapı Kredi Bank, wrote theatre plays and organized festivals. He was also a one time secretary general of the Communist Party of Turkey.* Until Gediz and her designer husband Cihan Kıvanç (1981-) moved here, the young painter Sezin Aksoy (1981-) used this living room as her studio.
 
Leylâ Gediz does not illustrate these people, or their lives. However, within this historical framework, she clearly engages with a particular sensitivity, especially in terms of women’s rights and freedoms, which this neighbourhood - today, as in the past - has supported and sustained. By producing, from the outset, a digital reinterpretation for her exhibition poster of a frescoe by painter Ercüment Kalmık (1909-1971) situated in the entrance of the apartment block, 
Gediz makes no secret of the fact that, by adopting such an attitude, she is commemorating the idealism of the previous period; and further, also perceives and reclaims not only the living room of their home, but the entire Teşvikiye neighbourhood, and every component that forms part of her narrative, as objects ready to be treated anew from a contemporary viewpoint. 
 
The exhibition will remain open for only two weeks, and looks forward to your attendance! 
 
 
Leylâ Gediz would like to express her heartfelt thanks to Nazım Hikmet Richard Dikbaş, Esen İnal Esen and Atilla Atlı, Esen İnal and Cihan Kıvanç for their contribution. 
 
 
Opening: 3 May Saturday, 11:00-20:00
Artist Talk with Övül Durmuşoğlu: 3 May Saturday, 16:00
 
3-17 May, 2014 Monday-Saturday, 11:00-18:00
Topağacı, Ihlamur Yolu 46/1 Teşvikiye – Istanbul
For more information: leylagediz@gmail.com 
 
 
 
* The information presented here was compiled from Hıfzı Topuz’s (1923-) book titled Nişantaşı Anıları [Memories of Nişantaşı]

 

© Leyla Gediz, 2013