Jess Chen on Fatma Bucak

Fatma Bucak’s twelve-panel mosaic A Tree, 2022, depicts tightly intertwined branches and a splintered trunk that resembles two folks embracing. It would learn as an excessively sentimental plea for the surroundings, and one stripped of explicit context, if not for sure materials particulars: leaves veined with ash, blighted wooden instead of roots, and grayish slag within the background. The artist cobbled collectively the work’s twelve gridded panels from detritus she collected in Turkey after final 12 months’s unchecked forest fires, a catastrophe that prompted intense criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdog˘an’s authorities. Employing regional natural world—a few of them endangered—as vessels of critique, Bucak collapses politically charged cycles of beginning, dying, and rebirth within the area right into a single work. A Tree compares a symbolic picture of the earlier and future development of Eastern Anatolia’s forests with its present situation, represented by the particles included into the mosaic.“While the Dust Quickly Falls,” Bucak’s first solo present in Germany, strikes fluidly throughout set up, video, and sculpture, her alternative of media signaling every work’s political context. Black Ink, 2019, is a typed textual content describing the composition of the ink used to print that very same textual content: gum arabic, water, ash from the stays of a Kurdish guide, and soot from a burned Kurdish-language publishing home. Although the print explains how Bucak achieved a “nice, shiny ink” with a “uniform consistency,” the precise phrases are light or erased to the purpose of close to illegibility. Thick glass protects the framed print, as if the faintness of the phrases was itself an indication of fragility or proof of prior harm. The works look opens an affective area exterior of the textual content’s vaguely impartial tone, which means a way of neglect, if not erasure, that one may learn between the strains.Processes of decay set up a crucial throughline within the exhibition, linking a variety of political conflicts. To make An Interlude, 2022, Bucak collaborated with Bettina Bein-Lobmaier, an knowledgeable in medicinal herbs, arranging potted vegetation from around the globe on rows of business metal shelving. The set up doubles as a inexperienced area for guests to get pleasure from and as a type of botanical storytelling. Bitten, yellowed, and noticed leaves are seen on a number of of the vegetation, which throughout my go to, had been wilting below the glare of bare lightbulbs. Each relocated specimen is housed in a generic black container, like these used to move vegetation from nurseries to new properties. The containers point out the boundaries of a brief area, arbitrary and inclined to alter. In the harshly lit, medical surroundings, the set up evokes the sterility of ready in faceless immigration workplaces—an apt analogue for the method of human displacement.If the present hovers on the brink of pessimism, Damascus Rose, 2016–, shifts the main focus to potential methods ahead after disaster. Six years in the past, Bucak started grafting damask rose cuttings from Syria, the place the civil conflict had just about halted the flower’s cultivation and export, onto native species in Germany, Italy, and Turkey. On show listed here are two of Bucak’s cuttings, that are tended by employees and, in contrast to the vegetation in An Interlude, are flourishing of their new surroundings, with considerable pink petals and darkish, shiny leaves. Their virtually obscenely candy, musky perfume envelops the viewer within the makeshift greenhouse. The heady fragrance, for which the damask rose is famend, lingers within the air, marking territory, conjuring outdated recollections, and feeding new ones. Bucak’s conceptual transfer is that this distinctive scent, the plant’s immaterial double. It wafts throughout the gallery and connects a sensory expertise to the rose’s previous and current, its conventional connotations of affection and wonder, in addition to to histories of political unrest and migration.Like its signature perfume, the roses provide us a number of classes: that particular person cuttings can not survive on their very own; that development relies upon on regular care; and that nature’s rhythms—seed, bud, blossom, humus, ash—are inseparable from our personal. — Jess Chen

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