Remains, Exhibition View Mesher, 2022

site-specific installation with unfired clay, wood, plaster, paper sculptures and fragments, molds, organic and found materials on steel storage shelves

250 × 360 × 60 cm

Photo: Hadiye Cangökçe

Fueled by the concept of metamorphosis that is pivotal in the myth of Echo and Narcissus, of losing oneself in one- self and in another, and of ceasing to exist, Remains is a site-specific installation in which Yaşam Şaşmazer has reconstructed a part of her studio. Şaşmazer brought natural materials such as moss, stones, plants, and branches of trees that she uses in her works, as well as body parts she had made from wood, plaster, clay, and paper, and she places them in the exhibition space on a storage unit, as in her studio. This space becomes an observation area that displays the environment of the artist’s studio. It invites the audience to witness the different processes related to the various materials used by the artist and to contemplate the possibilities offered by the re-use of “things.”

Including fragments of sculptures, which Şaşmazer has produced over the past two years and objects that she does not consider as “artworks,” the remains and those left behind from the preparations of her previous exhibi- tions are all displayed on the shelves of a steel storage unit. The transparency and permeability of the glass shelves allow all these heterogeneous objects to open their inner selves. Similarities and extremes, interwoven colours, and “things” consisting of encrusted layers are not just study pieces left over from the artist’s works but also materials that have been transformed through several trials during the production process. Sculpture/body parts, the moulds used for making them, experiments with materials, found objects, and materials collected from nature have all come together. None of these elements, which have either under- gone or are undergoing some kind of metamorphosis, are placed at random. As the found materials that the artist has almost embroidered into her creations signify a state of merging with nature, they become associated with immor- tality. They invoke fundamental dualities like existence/ non-existence and vitality / mortality. The work, consisting of faulty / defective / missing / wrong / broken / inoper- able parts, suggests contemplating worth and worthless- ness, in relation to the objects deemed artworks, among other dualities.

The installation is a narrative about the cyclic nature of life. It presents a theme that highlights where the lives of objects begin and what they evolve into; it also shows that some- times they transform even after it seems that they have reached the end of their lives. Each piece appears as if it accompanies Echo’s story, right before she transforms into a “reverberation.”

Desolate from the rejection of Narcissus
hiding in the forest, Echo covers her face with leaves
withered, her skin wrinkles like paper then fades
her face is under a veil of mushrooms, while her body disappears the bones, which turn into moss-covered stones, are what remains she hides in nature, waiting to reverberate.