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Photos by: Bernard Borchardt, Kayhan Kaygusuz

Light in the Face of Overwhelming Darkness

In her current series Metanoia, Yasam Sasmazer deals with, a psychological term. According to Jung, it refers to the process of reforming the psyche as a form of self healing during a psychological breakdown or existential crisis. Metanoia describes for him a potentially productive act, in which transformation and change happens. 


Indeed, also this series shows an altered state, which is caused by a formal and conceptual concentration and radicalization of her previous artistic quest. Now, the shadow plays a bigger part. Due to its increased size, the psychovisual impact on the spectator is stronger. Also, the figure is more engaged in it, and confronts its shadow. Young women lie upon it, struggle with it, or walk with it. The shadow has lost its dark fairy tale or nightmare character. Now, it is a strong element that tells its own story. That is why in Metanoia, the shadow has nearly the same formal and conceptual importance as the protagonist of the scene. Due to the shadow’s connections to walls or floors, the sculptures are deeper involved in and intermingled with space. As they formally and conceptually depend on their location, the current pieces go beyond the classic notion of sculpture and formulate a site-specific statement of an installative intervention.  Also the figures changed. Now, all are adults, a bit older and stronger. Their dresses are black, which lets them become one with the shadow. The shadow-figure-interdependence seems in most sculptures rather peaceful, as if both have accepted their relationship as part of their being. Nevertheless, the figures neither seem helpless or passive nor melodramatic or overly tragic. That is why I believe that the dark and bright sides, as well as the productive and destructive characteristics of Metanoia are very well discussed in her current work. Most of the sculptures show a positive outcome of the power struggle between figure and shadow. Some figures fight against it, others have made peace with it, yet some still seem to be scared by it. Whatever darkness they face, most of them are not defeated, stand up for their survival, and expose so their strength. 


In the end, Yasam Sasmazer’s oeuvre touches our heart, soul and mind, as it expresses deep artistic thought and strong feeling. Her sculptures are intellectually challenging and aesthetically attractive as well as emotionally moving and sometimes even arousing. So, the work is a great example of a balanced relationship between craft and concept, psychological and socio-political matters, as well as private stories and common history. Her figures reveal the impact of the unconscious and hidden in our psyche on our life. They also sometimes even present ways of how to deal with the various shadows of our life. Especially the current series proves that Yasam Sasmazer’s artistic journey into the depth of the human mind, as well as her critical review of socio-political issues, and socio-cultural conformations is a stringent, consistent and increasingly powerful ongoing process.

Prof. Dr.Marcus Graf, Curator, Academic

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