Photos by: CHROMA, Kayhan Kaygusuz
Busts partially obscured by moss and fungus dominate Yasam Sasmazer's reflective new sculptural series. There is a sense of calm about these new works that merge the human and the natural, organic material growing out of the sculptures in haunting, elegiac fashion. Flora and fauna encroaches on the very profile of the figures, nature invading the human realm instead of the other way around.
The sculptures represent people from the artist’s personal history, some who she knows very well, some she who knows barely at all, the series as a whole becoming a comment on the process of memory, how it fades and changes over time, growing over like plants over a bust, obscuring the features that once were as clear as day. The encroaching moss acts like the gaps in a picture, the faded sections of a photograph, thematizing absence and loss.
This gradual erosion of identity and the sense of amnesia that comes with it is further emphasized by a sculpture of the head and shoulders of a man with his facial features roughly hewn off, exposing the fibre and grain of the wood – the bare materials with which the artist works. The fact that all the works are carved not in marble or bronze, but in wood is notable, the material being as malleable as memory itself, perfectly suited to expressing a feeling of transience and of loss, for nothing lasts forever.
Sasmazer's choice of an organic, degradable material that is sensitive to weather, changes over time and ultimately is likely to rot is a statement in itself. Nothing, and indeed no one, can stand up to the test of time, Sasmazer seems to say here. Hers is a series about the fragility of memory and its constantly shifting structure, about growth and decay, about the process of loss and dispossession.