My solo exhibition, “Clothes from the Past” at the Helena Davis Gallery, Artspace in Richmond was a great opportunity for me to reach out to the East Coast with my historical dresses. I also gave a talk at the opening of my solo exhibition “Clothes from the Past” at the Helena Davis Gallery in artspace in Richmond, VA. This was a great opportunity for me to explain how I work as an artist, my past work, inspirations, and my future projects. You may watch the talk here.
I recreated clothes worn by women and children in Turkey and Europe between the 17th and 19th centuries using metal and other materials that I collected from Turkey and other parts of Asia. The metals I used were industrial metals even though they look like a high quality fabric from a distance. They are mainly made of brass, copper, stainless steel and monel. In some cases I heat treated them or applied chemicals to develop new colors and textures. I added contemporary embellishments of my own designs.
I did an extensive research on motifs, textiles and clothing patterns of the time from literature sources and miniatures. I had a great time during the period I created these because it was like going back in history and bringing all this back to the present.
By adding my own designs I felt like I was inciting a dialogue between the past and the present.
These designs were in the form of two and three dimensional elements such as these silk crescents on my Persian Dress that I adopted from a women’s coat from Persia. I used a technique from southeastern Turkey to create the crescent motifs which appear quite a lot in Turkish textiles from the 14th century on.
In the Child’s Anteri with Silk Spheres which was inspired by a dress from Turkey from the early 17th century, I added silk transparent spheres to convey the playfulness of a child. The spheres were made using a traditional Japanese technique.
I added gold leaf to the Ayse Sultan’s Dress in the form of a çintemani design, these three circles arranged as an inverted triangle, which has been used repeatedly in the costumes and ceramics of the period. Its presence on clothing serves as a protection against the evil eye.
I designed an exaggerated tulip to emphasize the importance of this well admired flower in my Silk Robe with Tulip. In the Ottoman Empire tulips were also greatly esteemed and were repeatedly used as a motif in architecture and crafts. During the 16th century Europeans traveling in Turkey brought the news of this flower back and in Holland between 1634 and 1637 single bulbs of certain types of tulips were sold for the same prince as a town house in the best quarters of Amsterdam.
On my Calligraphy Dress I wrote the letters of the word aimra’a (imrea) meaning “woman” in Arabic. This was also about inequality and injustice against women.
I made the Robe with Colours of the Night and Gold Froggings as a remembrance of the mourning clothes worn to reflect the suffering of the soul when someone dies. They had the in the colors of the night. I used gold which you can see often in my art in the form of froggings, narrow bands of fabric which were used to fasten Sultan’s kaftans.
One of the sultans, Sultan Ahmed imported millions of tulip bulbs from Holland to decorate his gardens. His passion for tulips led to his downfall. The falling of these tulips here in this dress, Dress with Falling Tulips suggests the obsolescence of this once idolized flower.
For the Girl’s Anteri with Rain Drops I used Turkish crystals to decorate the surface to reflect the glamour of the times.
This exhibition developed from my interest in tracing shifts over time and this time it is the transition in my own culture in the form of garments.
artspace opened its large gallery space to one other individual and one group exhibition. The solo exhibition, Secret Histories, collage, sculpture and drawings are about Jonathan Lee’s Lee’s personal and communal experiences. The group exhibition (We)eds, a by Diuguid, Duggan, Lovell, Smith, and Van Gorder. Katherine Diuguid’s are embroidered floral slips reminiscent of the beautiful botanical illustrations from the Victorian era.
Here is my press release:
Solo Exhibition: “Clothes from the Past”
by Belgin Yücelen
Helena Davis Gallery at artspace in Richmond, VA will present a solo exhibition titled “Clothes from the Past” featuring Turkish-American artist Belgin Yücelen. Exhibition dates are July 27 through August 19, 2018. An opening reception for the Artists will take place on Friday, July 27, 2018, from 6:00-9:00pm, and artist talks by Belgin Yucelen will begin at 7:00 pm. This event will be free and open to the public.
“Clothes from the Past” installation of sculptural garments redefines a past culture’s sophistication in a contemporary form. Yücelen recreates the clothes worn by women and children in Turkey and Europe between the 17th and 19th centuries using metal mesh and imaginary ornaments. “By adding my own designs in the form of calligraphy and three dimensional elements such as transparent spheres, mesh tulips or silk crescents, I attempted to incite a dialogue between the past and the present” Yücelen says . “I am interested in tracing shifts over time in cultural values by referencing history, anthropology, literature and architecture. This exhibit allowed me to portray a transition in my own culture in the form of garments”, she says.
Belgin Yücelen creates sculptures, installations, movies and prints drawing on the traditions of the past and today’s ethics. She studied sculpture at the Florence Accademia D’Arte in Florence, University of Colorado Boulder, Art Students League of Denver and Scottsdale Art School. She is a recipient of grants and fellowships including the 2018 Moon and Stars Project Grant, 2018 Executive Level and 2017 Fellow for the Business Accelerator Program by the Clark Hulings Fund. She is also an elected Member of the National Sculpture Society (NSS). Her work is represented at national and international galleries and museums.
artspace is committed to showing first quality visual art in a variety of innovative styles and media. The gallery has also been the forum for original work in poetry, prose, drama, dance and music. The monthly exhibitions and performance art series have placed artspace on the cutting edge of the artistic scene in Richmond.
For more images and more information on the exhibition please contact:
Dana Frostick, artspace President, 804.232.6464, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://artspacegallery.org/