Solo exhibition, Underconstruction Contemporary Art Space, Istanbul, 2006
City Can is dealing with Istanbul as a city of dreams and nightmares. It goes beyond traditional drawing by extending the picture into space. The work surrounds the spectator. It shows a heterogeneous urban cosmos, in which millions of stories can be observed. Instead of being a wall-drawing, the work is a space-drawing, a time and site spesific installation.Ceren Oykut transfers the classic medium into contemporary forms in order to adjust the act of drawing to today’s reality. She poses the eyes of a child combined with the mind of a scientist. The artist researches Istanbul and reveals the stories of the city dwellers living within the chaos and absurdity of everyday life. Ceren Oykut belongs to this city, is an active part of it.City Can functions like a subjective archive, a visual pool of the streets of Istanbul. The artist draws what she sees. The result is an all over composition, a complex structure without any focus. Like the city itself, there is no centre in Oykut’s work. She creates an individual map, in which details are more important than a general impression, a picturesque wiew or any tourist attraction.Turkis Miniature as well as caricature, satire and humour in general (mizah) have evident influences on her work. On the walls of Under Construction, she individually reproduces her direct surrounding, the urban context she lives in. Though, different from real life, in Oykut’s work, everything and every being have same formal and conceptual importance. The freedom of miniature is adjusted to the freedom of the mind.City Can translocates parts of Istanbul into Under Constuction. In the installation, the spectator sees scenes that Ceren Oykut watched on her way from Boyacıköy, over Başiktaş, the Bosphorus, Kadıköy to Under Construction in Maltepe during the installation’s production time of three weeks. The work is like a record of seen incidents, which she saved in her memory and later drew on the wall. She took various ways to the exhibition space to see as many different stories as possible. The result of this research is a compressen image of Istanbul. There, everything is in a state of permanent flux. The city, the construction site and Oykut’s installation are constantly developing. Together they form one liquid composition. İt resembles a concert, in which the sound of Istanbul gets created: The machines of the construction site form the rhythm, and the pencil dances an the walls to the melody of the city.In City Can, time and space stop existing. The spectator steps out of real life in order to discover Istanbul. Therefore, Oykut’s work shows one of art’s basic functions:Art becomes an instrument for researching and questioning society by forming parallel realities which represents models of our world. In her installation, we see our city through the eyes of somebody who is observing from a differet angle.Ceren Oykut’s work reflects the paradox of being a distant observer and individual activist. City Can gives us a feedback. What we see is what we live with. The spectator is wellcomed to enter the installation in order to discover various faces of Istanbul, this beautiful monster. Istanbul is more than an accumulation of concrete, steel and glass. Istanbul is made by its inhabitants. We create Istanbul everyday new...