Counterweight08/10/2018 - 09/12/2018
The history of civilization is not concrete. Those with power retroactively construct it as they erect structures in their own names. The perfection of concrete as a building material by the Romans allowed physical manifestations of imperial power to proliferate rapidly across the Mediterranean Empire. This legacy of heroic architecture, phallic warrior monuments, and patriarchal power flows from the ancients and into the governments that followed and drew influence from them, down into our contemporary existence. Echoes can be heard in conversations around Confederate war monuments built in the name of their “Lost Cause”— a retroactive attempt to both mythologize and concretize a false narrative of history and to silence dissenting voices.
In Counterweight, Sera Boeno, Cevahir Özdoğan, and Noa Heyne explore the historical power invested in concrete and draw connections to the architectural and sociological conditions of their birthplaces, Turkey and Israel. Understanding the material as inherently gendered, the artists construct works that question the relationship between history, monumentality, power, and the feminine experience. If concrete has often functioned as a vehicle through which power itself is cemented, how can its power be appropriated by the feminine?
The exhibition will run from August 10–September 12 at The Menial Collection with an opening reception the evening of August 10th. Accompanying the exhibition will be a programming series with talks by the artists, a printmaking/archiving workshop with Lebanese archivist and artist Celia Shaheen, and an exhibition catalogue release.
Sera Boeno (b. 1991) is a sculptor and installation artist from Istanbul, Turkey. Her praxis is research-based and heavily influenced by the socio-politics of her motherland, Turkey. Narratives of and around women in historically silenced topics –politics, sex, religion, trauma– are central to her work. Concrete, metal, wood, and found objects constitute the foundations of her practice. Boeno holds a B.A. Dartmouth College with degrees in Neuroscience and Studio Art, and an M.F.A from Rinehart School of Sculpture at Maryland Institute College of Art with focuses in curatorial practice, critical studies and art education. She is the recipient of several awards and grants including the Baltimore Jewelry Center Fellowship and Amalie Rothschild '34. Boeno has worked in various creative projects between Turkey, Japan and the United States. She is currently based in Baltimore, MD.
Noa Heyne is a multidisciplinary artist working in sculpture, performance, installation and animation. Her large-scale interactive installations emphasize viewer participation within a physical space. Heyne was born in Ramat Gan, Israel. She began her artistic education as a painter at the Jerusalem Studio School (2005-2007) in the Master Class of Israel Hershberg, and has moved on to study sculpture in the New York Studio School (2007-2008) in New York. She received her MFA from the Rinehart School of Sculpture, MICA in 2017. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in Israel and the U.S, and within private collections in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, New York and London. Heyne is the recipient of several awards, among them the LCU Foundation award, the Rinehart Fellowship award, the Amalie Rothschild '34 Award and the MICA LAB award. In 2018 Heyne was a finalist for the Baltimore Baker Artists Award. She currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
Cevahir Özdoğan (b. 1985) is a multidisciplinary installation artist working in painting, video, sculpture and fiber. She spent most of her life in Turkey, at the center of differing political ideologies, histories, cultures, and identities, which have greatly shaped her work. Her work is particularly concerned with representations of women in a patriarchal world. She is comparatively researching historical and technological contemporary women's issues from culture to culture. Currently, she is working on feminist identity of women through material research and cyborg theory, informed by theorist Donna Haraway. Ozdogan made a new material that combines fabric and concrete which she calls "soft concrete" as a reference to feminist fiber art. Concrete is traditionally considered a masculine material and so, by making concrete softer, it gains a gender-based critical reading in her work. She also embroiders on transparent silicone rubber and clear vinyl to combine the idea of the traditional women craft material with cyborg aesthetic to create a new philosophical hybrid of the human, nature and technology.
Programming for Counterweight:
Scent & Sahtein
Turkish Teatime & Discussion
Sera Boeno, Cevahir Özdoğan