In December, I was invited by Sabine Delahaut and Ozan Bilginer to take part in a show called Print/ Pressure, located in Ankara, the capital of Turkey.

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Photo by Sabine Delahaut

The premise of the show was that in Turkish language, the word for Print (Baski) is used to express concepts of coercion, oppression, discipline and restraint, as well as being the word for printing/ impression and pressure.

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Seeing as many cultures hide intimate depictions of the body, I thought it would be apt to show the Orchis book series.

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As I’ve written before in this blog, the word Orchis is the ancient Greek word for testicle, after which Orchid flowers were named, owing to the shape of their bulbs. In Old English too, the same parallel was made, and Orchid bulbs were called dogstones.

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The luxuriant feminine aspect of the Orchid flower, and the masculine shape of their roots makes the Orchid plant a metaphor for sexuality. The book format allows for a private viewing of what may be considered a socially taboo subject. The books are intended to be portable and discrete.

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However, this time round, the gallery chose to display eight of the nine books on shelves above and below each other, emphasising their sculptural qualities. The ninth book, Orchis Nine, is in the catalogue.

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In my statement for the catalogue, I compare the book to a body. Turning the pages stretches limbs and crushes and expands the timeline.

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The landscapes that result flow and merge from bodies into plants and flowers, jungle and folded fabric, between figures that are solid and those that seem to shimmer and disappear.

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I like to think that if the body is enclosed in the book, equating paper with skin, then skin smells of black ink.

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Other artists in the show were Atilla Atar, Beyza Boynudelik, Charlotte Massip, Engin Esen, Hasan Kiran, Heather Huston, Jean – Michel Uyttersprot, Ozan Bilginer, Sabine Delahaut and Oleg Denysenko.

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Atilla Atar

The gallery, Arte Sanat, made a really lovely publication with images from everyone, as well as a statement, the link is here

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Heather Huston

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Sabine Delahaut

The show runs until 20 Jan 2017 so there’s still time to view it.

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I was particularly intrigued the work by Ozan Bilginer which used thermochromic ink and heaters inserted behind the installation of prints: as the heaters raised the temperature of the print surface the black ink became transparent and the screenprinted scene below was revealed. This was interesting to observe, as well as to watch viewers captivated by images that were permanently in flux.

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Ozan Bilginer 

After the opening, we all went out to eat a hearty meal and drink Raki.

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Photo by Sabine Delahaut

The showing of the Orchis Library in Turkey had an additional coincidence, in that the Orchid root is commonly made into a winter drink called Salep (also popular in 18C Britain as an aphrodisiac) tying in with the notion of the Orchid plant being related to the body and its sensual functions.

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On my last afternoon there, the hotel ordered Salep for me to try. It was a creamy sweet comforting hot drink, but it didn’t have its required effect…

I didn’t fall in love with anyone on the way home…

 

 

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On The Bus

WG on the bus

This is a portfolio of prints by an international group of print artists from around the world who were connected by their shared experience at a print exhibition in Qijiang, China. The folio includes Heather Huston (Calgary), Guy Langevin (Quebec), Wayne Crothers (Australia), Karen Brussat Butler (USA), Ema Shin (Australia/Japan), Marcia Rizzato (Germany/Italy), Wuon-Gean Ho (England), and Annika Romeyn (Australia).

In November 2011, artists travelled from around the world to participate in the 3rd Qijiang International Print Festival. Since the different destinations during the visit required miles of travel, everyone got to know each other on the bus. Many hours were spent discussing prints, China, our respective countries, enjoying the landscape, and of course wondering at the large amount of traffic and construction all while being serenaded with Chinese pop music. This portfolio is an echo of those experiences, conversations and relationships that we’ve formed. We will carry many memories from our trip and this portfolio allows us to come together again and reflect on those experiences.

The show is on at the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts, 205 8 Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta T2G 0K9 from 3 Oct – 3 Jan

(All I’ll say about my print is that I spent a lot of time half dreaming that I had got on the wrong bus, but that it was filled with strange and friendly creatures… A big thanks to Heather Huston for organising the exhibition!)