/Peanut Butter

/Description of the “Peanut Butter” /Fıstık Ezmesi’nin tarifi (Turkish)

In her second solo exhibition that takes place in the Mabeyn Gallery, Huri Kiris answers some vital questions such as ‘Why does a person look at a painting? Why does the artist of a painting prefers to immortalize a certain image and feels the need of discussing it with the ones who look at it?’, by way of her paintings.

Let us begin by saying that it is pretty difficult to describe the term Peanut Butter, the title of this exhibition. The reason is that, nowadays this title symbolizes the women and all kinds of production and consumption components about the irrational savageness and the patriarchal point of view that (reputedly) represents them with an intense up-to-dateness.

In this exhibition, Kiris renders her paintings in a humanistic and critical perspective against all types of power; while at the same time she embodies the iconoclast Byzantine art and the Islamic tradition of illumination (medieval text decoration) through a historical and aesthetical essence. Thus, the artist revives the neverending paradox of the terms of ‘worldliness and holiness’ that occure in arts as well as among the members of a society, by way of an unprejudiced point of view and visuality that her paintings propose.

Huri Kiris’s exhibition which includes her oil paintings such as ‘goats’, ‘sex stars’, ‘the victims of violence’ and ‘young people’, opens along with the ‘Forbidden Apple’ that shines on a gilded ground colour overhead and two gilded ‘Holy Leaves’ that are put in front of the sexual organs of two white people figures. Without a doubt, nudity is not an ‘obscene’ issue for an artist and thus, these two works of arts are remarkable in terms of the visuality this exhibition offers.

Kiris believes that even today, ‘personal privacy’ is an outcome of obligation. From this aspect, especially in the matter of necessity of women to keep their personal privacy, underlies the abusive and aggressive attitude, the patriarchal society points on the women. All pseudo norms imposed on us under the name of ‘morality’, look like a fragile stitch that ties Huri Kiris’s dramatic works of arts.

Huri Kiris prefers to maintain the perivous series of her portaits that covers her acquintanceships with the works ‘Maria Magdalena’, ‘Melekler (Angels)’ ‘Gabriel’ and ‘Meryem (Maria)’. In these paintings, the holy characteristics are brought together with the daily ones in a fearless and courageous depiction.

For the Nisa series of her paintings the artist, who works with Hakan Dagli, a master of illumination in ISMEK, also depicts the women victims of psychological, physical or sexual violence and presents the honor and respect they all have deserved through these series of paintings. In a sense, Kiris visualizes her criticism against the superstitions and social or denominational prejudices.

Socially accepted norms are the most important ambiguities that Kiris challenges by means of her works. The artist, who argues that collective morality puts a kind of potential psychological pressure on the individuals, also emphasizes this concept through a great symbolization in her painting, Keçiler (Goats).

All in all, in order to withstand the so-called ‘collective mind’ that supports the idea of  lynching Kiris opposes, it’s high time we pondered with resistance and stubbornness on these paintings, whose ‘material’ is made up of ‘reality’ and ‘genuinness’.

In that case, what we should do is to have a look at the paintings freely and willingly. Otherwise, we will all miss the chance of seeing an ‘unprejudiced’ world that Huri Kiris offers us to notice and to join.

Evrim Altuğ