Born in 1985 in The Hague, Netherlands, Merve Ünsal is a visual artist who lives and works in Istanbul. She researches the boundaries of photography and text in her works and traces the moments and situations when the unspoken is transformed into the unspeakable. Her works are always image-driven and she thinks through the media of photography, video, sound, as well as site-specific installations. She has shown her work in a variety of contexts across the world, most often through artist-driven initiatives in Cairo, Beirut, New Delhi, Toronto; she has been supported by the Delfina Foundation (London), Praksis (Oslo), Fogo Island Arts, Art Metropole (Toronto), University of Delaware (Lewes) to participate in artist residencies. She participated in the learning program at Ashkal Alwan (Beirut), Homework Space in the academic year, 2014-2015. She is also one of the editors at m-est.org, a publication dedicated to think about artist-centered publishing.
With the Wind
With the three works at SAHA Studio, With the Wind, / or is the horizon line just another crack? and Selamet (Crack!), I trace the idea that only by making visible and audible their own cracks, bumps, and incompletenesses are artworks able to be transformed into sites of remembering that are both active and consistently generative.
With the Wind is a radio transmission. Installed on SAHA Studio’s balcony and constructed from locally-derived materials, the repurposed wind-catcher is from where the transmission is made. The transmission has two channels: the first channel is the sound of the air passing through the wind-catcher and the second is the sound recordings collected from various media channels including TV and radio from Turkey in which sets of words are collated about Taksim and its surroundings. The sound recordings are realigned constantly. The wind is utilized as an element that carries, narrates, and collects; With the Wind is added onto the already-existing infrastructure of the air vents in the space, with which I search for the possibility of radio transmissions to narrate a place. Using the method of montage to expand language, I attempt to oblige the already-existing transmissions to be relayed and reconstructed.
/ or is the horizon line just another crack?
/ or is the horizon line just another crack? is a series of collages that are embedded in the forward slash that is assumed to exist between the natural and the unnatural. Questioning whether it is possible to produce while seated within the cracks of narrative, I use found drone images as well as a wandering subtext to recount various moments of catastrophe.
Selamet (Crack!) (2015/2021)
Selamet (Crack!) is a wall object that is an assemblage of images and texts from the Selamet newspaper archive, which was announced to have existed through a classified ad in 2014. With this work, I seek to find out what the wall could carry as an archival space through this multimedia object, trying to tune into the work’s own cracks.