OCTOBER 2021 - MAY 2022

İz Öztat


Born in 1981 in Istanbul, the artist studied at Oberlin College, Visual Arts in her bachelor degree, and earned her master’s degree in Visual Arts and Communication Design at Sabancı University. Her practice engages with diverse forms and media defined by her research. Her individual and collective artistic practice focuses on the return of the suppressed past in the present, questioning official narratives through the possibilities of fiction, struggles for water to flow free, the influence of education in constructing the artist and consensual negotiation of power relations. She has been engaged in an untimely collaboration with Zişan (1894 – 1970) who appears to her as an alter ego, a ghost and a historical figure. Her academic articles, essays and fictional texts have been published in various media. Öztat also participated in artist residency programmes in Amman, Berlin, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Oslo, Paris and Yerevan.

Boo Boo

In the ongoing body of work titled Every name in history is I and I is other, İz Öztat fabricates the (auto)biography of Zişan (1894-1970), who appears to her as a historical figure, a ghost, and an alter ego. She takes on Zişan’s archives and interprets them through her practice to construct a complex temporality of action that enables the suppressed past to intervene in the increasingly authoritarian present. 

The chapter titled Boo Boo of Zişan’s (auto)biography is inspired by the research and the autobiographic experiences inherent to the process producing the work, geared to imagine the love between Zişan and Vita (Sackville-West). The two subjects, whose assigned genders are female, construct the experience of love, which they build as a field of research.

Vita who lives in Istanbul and Zişan who works in the photography studio of her father, Dikran Bey in 1913, meet each other at the studio. They fall in love as they select the decor and objects to form the photograph that Vita desires. In the time frame of one year when Vita lives in Istanbul, they spend time at the photography studio to construct themselves in the representations that they produce, by recognizing each other’s desires and documenting their love. 

At the center of the site-specific installation at SAHA Studio is this photography studio in which Zişan and Vita met and spent time. The construction of the space is informed by the orientalist elements that would have been found at a photography studio at the beginning of the 20th century and the prevailing orientalist aesthetic of the contemporary era, myths about the artist's studio, and fantasies that are inherent to the experience of love that enkindle desire. İz and Ra’s research process, in which they are both themselves as well as Zişan and Vita, become visible through moments in the studio that becomes a stage and pieces of the content that will later become a publication. 

The site-specific installation titled Boo Boo is produced with the support of SAHA Association, within the scope of SAHA Studio program. 


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