MEHMET ALI UYSAL
EXHIBITION TITLE: Hi!
EXHIBITION DATES: May 12-June 19, 2016
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, May 12, 6-8 p.m
Sapar Contemporary inaugurates its new space in Tribeca with an exhibition featuring the work of Turkish artist Mehmet Ali Uysal. A newcomer on the New York art scene, the gallery invited Uysal to interact with its newly renovated space, on the ground floor of 9 North Moore Street. Internationally recognized for his playful reevaluations of the white cube, Uysal has transformed the space into a whimsical three-dimensional sculpture that poses subtle yet forceful questions about physical and emotional boundaries, both concrete and metaphysical—and about being at home in one’s own skin.
At the center of Uysal’s practice are the place of the individual and the authority of materiality in today’s rapidly changing environment. Whether referencing rapid urbanization, along with its displacement of individuals and communities, or the growing materiality and object-focused art market, the individual is at the core of Uysal’s entrancing body of work.
From outdoor landscapes to gallery walls and picture frames, Uysal creates key parallels between physical surfaces and the sensory pulse of the human skin, malleable enough to be pinched, ripped, contorted, and torn off. His installations alter our perception of spaces as containers for personal and collective memory, evoking our relation to authority and even our own identity.
In a site-specific work commissioned especially for the Sapar gallery, and a new addition to Uysal’s “Peel” series, a wall sliding down the stairs reveals echoes of the building’s past lives, captured behind the exposed cement. The picture frames of “Suspended” lose their original function as borders marking the limits of an artwork to become deformed specimens hung on the wall for appraisal like hunting trophies.
Deceptively simple, his installations capture an improbable balance between movement and stillness, gravity and ephemerality. The 2011 “Untitled” series reveals liminal traces of a human silhouette apparently attempting to break through the confines of a ghostly white wall. In “Skin, 2013,” the main wall of the gallery is scattered with clothespins that seem to pinch its surface. (An outdoor version of “Skin,” a six-meter-high clothespin pinching the grass, was named one of the ten most important public artworks by the UK’s Independent.)
Nina Levent, Director of Sapar Contemporary, compares Uysal’s work to visual haiku that question our perception of matter and the boundaries between physical objects and ourselves. “His art is subversive and persistent in its refusal to give the viewer any identity, or regional or personal clues, and yet in this very act it is loaded with meaning.”
The exhibit will be on view through June 19.
About Mehmet Ali Uysal
Mehmet Ali Uysal (born 1976, Turkey) studied architecture and received his PhD from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Hacettepe University in 2009 before completing an
MFA in sculpture there in 2005. His work can be found in such private and public collections as the Vehbi Koç Foundation and Ozyegin University Collections, in Turkey; Le Vent des Forêts Festival Public Collection, in Meuse, France; Chaufontaine Parks Public Collection, in Liege, Belgium; Audi Collection (Audi Bank Lebanon), in Beirut, Lebanon; Golden Harvest Group Art Collection, in India; Samdani Art Foundation, in Bangladesh; and the City of Umeå Collection, in Sweden. The artist lives, works, and teaches in Ankara.
May 11: Private Preview of Hi! - Mehmet Ali Uysal
Menu by Norberto Piattoni
inspired by the works of Mehmet Ali Uysal
Chilled garlic almond soup garnished with white grapes
Inspiration: Skin Series
A blend of garlic and almonds form the base of the gazpacho. It is served in
glasses garnished with white grapes.
Lentil donut dusted with edible silver leaf
Inspiration: Suspended Series
Lentil donuts fried and dusted with edible silver.
Riced cauliflower on a bed of sauce gribiche covered with rice-noodle sheet
A bed of sauce gribiche lays the foundation for the riced cauliflower,
blanketed to create a barely recognizable shape.
Buttermilk oysters with daikon
Inspiration: Skin-Suspended Series
The oysters are steeped in a buttermilk bath, veiled with a thin daikon slice
that is then pinched with a clothespin.
Inspiration: Suspended Series/Meat
Red beef jerky is displayed on little hooks to mirror the frames and their firm
yet now malleable image
Wine Pairing: Melon de Bourgogne “Nuitage” Marc Pesnot
Norberto Piattoni, Chef
Norberto Piattoni was born in Argentina. His first experiences in the kitchen were helping his family cook and learning about food production on his grandfather’s farm. In 2005 he decided to trade in his chemical engineering career for the kitchen and apply the sciences he had learned to cookery. A year later he started working for renowned Argentine chef Francis Mallmann. At his side, Norberto cooked dinners for the Prime Minister of China and the President of Uruguay. After moving to American in 2013, Norberto worked on the West Coast, including with Max Chow of the Mr. Chow restaurants. In NY Norberto showcased Argentinian street food. Now, settled into his Brooklyn home, he is creating and consulting on menus in the Lower East Side Metrograph and in NoLita at Pietro’s, while he while he oversees work on his restaurant in Fort Green, due this fall.
Henry Moynahan Rich, Sommelier
Henry Moynahan Rich has been working in wine and hospitality fields for 13 years and owns Rucola, Fitzcarraldo, June Wine Bar, and Cassette Restaurant. He just opened The Commissary restaurant in the Metrograph Theater in May 2016. Henry’s June Wine Bar was voted the best wine bar in the United States by Time Out in November of 2015.