traces by Gül Ilgaz

‘traces left on the ancient city walls of Istanbul’ Gül Ilgaz

text by Pınar Öğrenci in Floating Volumes Exhibition Catalog

Walter Benjamin discribes the co-existence of the ruins in a city and the buildings under construction as ‘poropsity’ that functions as a laboratory to read the historical layers of the city. Providing a bridge between the past and the present, these spaces determine the shared memory of the city. In Gül Ilgaz‘s photographs, we encounter traces of distroyed houses built on ancient fortification walls constructed for defence and protection. Cutting a structure vertically forms a cross section, one of the two dimensional forms of architectural expression. In the trace series, the vertical traces that remain of the forticification wall, just like a cross section, do more than show how elements such as stairs, floors, walls, chimneys and roofs come together to compose a house; it brings an element often forgetten in architectural design and drawings, the human factor, to the foreground. When Laozi said, ‘My home is neither a wall nor a floor nor a roof; it is a space between these elements because i live there’, he used ‘the space’ to emphasize ‘the subject’.

Traces in Gül Ilgaz‘s photographs such as the pink and blue tones painted on the walls of the destroyed houses, the remaining pieces of wall paper, and protruding broken pipes, remind us not only the of the houses, but also of people who have lived there. With a strong artistic glance directed towards what no longer exists, the artist personal search is for a poetic expression.