İstif | Mithat Şen

18.03.2017 / 30.04.2017 | Press Relase | Brochure

Art On İstanbul is pleased to announce that its new space at Tepebaşı will be launched with “Istif”, Mithat Şen’s first solo exhibition in Istanbul after 6 years. The exhibition will feature a new installation entitled “Yıldız Sistemine Dair” (“On the Stellar System”), created site-specifically for the new space, and new works as well as previously never seen before works from the “Istif” series. The exhibition will run from March 18th until April 30th at Art On Istanbul’s new space in Hanif Binası.

With “Istif,” Mithat Şen reconstructs the “body” that he created and evolved in his early works. In this new series, Mithat Şen approaches this body, which he depicts at times as a whole and at times in part on the canvas or on leather mounted on the frame, from the compositional principles of calligraphy. Insofar as istif is concerned—istif being a term that denotes a calligraphic composition where the letters are superimposed and interlaced—the usual order of the letters is disturbed and the letters are re-organized and stacked into a composition on the basis of the piece-whole and volume-space relationship between the letters. Istif not only offers variations of form, but also builds a unique system in that it points to the different phases that units go through as they attain unity. In the “Istif” series, the 13 units that Mithat Şen employs are encoded as an alphabet of the body, and the transformation of these units into a whole through the delicate balance of the arrangement of the letters generates new forms that offer an infinite number of interpretations—just like they do in nature.

The following verses in Behçet Necatigil’s poem entitled “Açık” (Open) on artistic form as formulated by tradition can shed light on the above-described act of construction in Mithat Şen’s artworks: “Builds a new shelter, using the same stones.” The stones that the artist uses are the abandoned and long-forgotten pieces of a legacy that have survived throughout many centuries into the present day. These pieces, ranging from tombstones to carpet patterns, and from ceramic tiles to calligraphic compositions, are the expressions of a sensation common to us all. The new shelter that is built, whether in poetry or in art, leaves out expressions that can be revealed through meaning, and unveils the form, the abstract and the mystical instead. It is in this respect that the work of art has a limited fullness in terms of space, just like the earth, and a limitless space in terms of time, just like the sky.

Visiting hours: Tuesday-Saturday | 10.00-19.00
For further information and visual material: Sevda Süzer |