JUNE 2022 - MARCH 2023

Elmas Deniz

Elmas Deniz

Elmas Deniz graduated from Dokuz Eylul University, Department of Painting in 2003 and Izmir Anatolian High School of Fine Arts in 1998. She was also among the co-founders of K2 Contemporary Art Center in Izmir. Having received IASPIS Artist Grand in 2014 and Berlin Goethe Institute Cultural Grand in 2007, she has been a resident at Pistoletto Foundation, DIVA Copenhagen, Vassl, Karachi, and AIWA Lebanon. Deniz’s concept-driven works explore the intersections and points of entanglement between economics and nature. She focuses on the human-nature relationship, how the idea of nature is shaped by different value systems throughout history, and today's ecological concerns. Questioning capitalism-led deterioration of nature, Deniz reveals how the system reshapes our perception towards nature with its tacit manipulations. She investigates the different perspectives on value systems by delving into inequality, poverty, and consumer culture. Her recent works revolve around the losses, transformations, and extinctions in particular geographies, as well as sites of inequality between humans and non-humans. Critically exposing the faults of consensus-based value judgements, the artist asks whether it is possible to imagine a new relationship with nature and think about its wider potential.

An Illusion of Encounter 
In Elmas Deniz’s artistic practice spanning over the years with a focus on ecology, the video titled An Illusion of Encounter represents a new direction in view of its elements that typically pertain to experimental film, theater, and costume design. Species who are brought to the brink of extinction or changed inevitably as the result of man-made environmental crisis and global warming are presented as the protagonists of the video. Chronicled through a group of fictive characters, namely The Beetle, the Cheliped-man, and the Council of Plants, the video’s fragmental narrative sheds light on the absurd human condition, which neglects the ecological decay and tends to think everything as per its own image. These fantastic characters inspired by the natural and historical qualities of their respective turfs are coupled with the tumuli, formations which appear in the midst of landscapes as artificial hillocks. An Illusion of Encounter proposes a non-homocentric philosophy as to how we can coexist with non-humans on this planet. 

Council of Lost Plants 
Produced concurrently and within the shared context of An Illusion of Encounter, the installation titled Council of Lost Plants is based on the idea of setting up a theater scene. Plant-sculptures, created with numerous materials in various shapes and modified scales, which are sometimes abstracted, are the main characters of a performance taking place on this very scene, despite being perceived as mere decors at first glance. This ironic performance consists of the encounters and dialogues of the Council of Plants with the Beetle and the Cheliped-man, the two other fictional characters created by the artist. Staging the meeting of a council, which keeps a tally of their fellows who are now extinct due to the ecological crisis, they raise the question of what sort of a sphere for negotiation there can be for humans and non-humans. 

Elmas Deniz's speech within the scope of WWN Talks:


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