Staggering Sculptures Dominate Bodrum’s Coastline This Summer


Set across the lush gardens and rugged coastline around Maçakizi, a charming hillside hotel overlooking Türkbükü Bay at the northern tip of the Bodrum Peninsula, ‘Between Humanity and Nature’ presents site-specific paintings, sculptures, design and installations by celebrated contemporary artists exploring our relationship to nature and the world around us.

“After the pandemic, I felt more deeply the importance of our relationship with nature and wanted to explore it further with an exhibition presented in dialogue with the distinctive landscape of the Aegean Riviera,” says Demet Muftuoglu- Eseli, curator of the exhibition and co-founder of the artistic platform Istanbul’74. “I wanted to bring together artists from different backgrounds and disciplines, as each creative practice adds a new perspective on the theme.”

Through September 10, 2022, “Between Humanity and Nature” features existing works alongside new pieces created in collaboration with local studios and artisans.

Christian Mohaded, Restless Towers2022. Handwoven rattan on steel pole with concrete base. Photography: Courtesy of Istanbul’74

“The fusion and clash of perspectives between artists and artisans creates a singular synergy from which emerges something truly unique,” ​​continues Muftuoglu-Eseli. “The exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to see the depth and breadth of each artist’s practice in a new light.”

Take the Five by Cristián Mohaded Restless Towers (2022), produced as part of the exhibition’s artist residency program in collaboration with local weavers, who feature prominently on the shore. Made from handwoven rattan using local weaving techniques, they sway gently and hiss in the Meltemi winds. Their natural color and organic shapes blend harmoniously with the surrounding vegetation and the rocks on which they perch.

“We used a more elastic material than I would normally work with, which allowed us to experiment with new undulating shapes,” explains the Argentinian artist and designer who has made a name for himself by fusing tradition, craftsmanship and technique with modern innovation and design. “It was a real collaborative process that started with the exchange of know-how and ideas.”

Steve Messam, pier, 2022. Variable dimensions. Polyester ripstop, vents. Photography: Courtesy of Istanbul’74

Equally eye-catching is pier (2022), a new site-specific installation by British artist Steve Messam. Set in the rocky shallows between the mainland and the canopied wooden deck of Maçakizi, it features a series of dusky pink inflatables that are impossible to ignore from the bar and the bay beyond. Some are stuck in rocky crevices, while others float in the waves and the wind.

“I hope visitors will watch how they move and transform this body of water,” says Messam, who is best known for his site-specific ephemeral works that interrupt the landscape. “If people slow down, ask questions, and look at space in a new way, even for a moment, then I’ve done my job.”

The inflatables, produced in conjunction with a tailor in Bodrum, are made from lightweight polyester with a waterproof coating – a first for Messam, which typically works with ripstop nylon. “If you look closely, you’ll see the ripples and imperfections in the fabric,” he says. ‘Unlike my other works, pier has a soft material quality. And I like it.’

So there is pierof its unusual pastel pink coloring. “Ripstop nylons typically come in primary or saturated colors, and I wanted Jetty to speak the language of landscape,” he explains. “The hills of the Aegean have a dusty color, the sea is a turquoise green and the sky a very pale blue. It was important for me to work with this natural palette and to respect the light and the view.’

Mike Berg, Tower. Photography: Courtesy of Istanbul’74

Stroll up the pine-covered hill and you’ll find works by Carlito Dalceggio, Belkis Balpinar and Mike Berg, among others, happily snuggling among magnolias, oleander and bougainvillea. Perched by the pool, as if about to set sail, is Mehmet Ali Uysal paper boat (2022), designed for this exhibition in collaboration with a local metallurgical workshop.

Fabric Sculptures by Rachel Hayes ladies series, meanwhile, flutter in the breeze. The multicolored installation, erected above one of Maçakizi’s many outdoor terraces, looks different from one gust of wind to the next, so be prepared to stop, stare, and reconnect with your surroundings. .

Rachel Hayes, ladies2022. Polyester, Nylon. Photography: Courtesy of Istanbul’74

Also included in the exhibition are two art mirrors and three turntables by Sabine Marcelis. Made from local stone and produced in collaboration with a studio in Izmir, the tables are split in two: the top block rotates off-axis, so with each rotation a new composition is created.

“I like to work with simple geometric shapes to highlight the properties of the material,” explains the Dutch artist and designer, while moving the top block of one of the dining tables. Divide (2022). “When the plates move apart, we see how the hues of the pink travertine return to the veins of the blue stone.”

In the lead: Sabine Marcelis, Divide, 2022, Seat, Marble. Above: pictured behind Divide is Hue 3 Offround MirrorRose, 2022, Created in collaboration with Dutch designer Brit van Nerven. Photography: Courtesy of Istanbul’74

Bodrum’s blazing sun, it seems, also affects the viewing experience. As the sun beats down Offround Mirror Hue 3/ Pink (2022), which is installed behind Divide, it reflects a pink color on the surface of the tables; when it hits the sharp corners of the tables, it casts shadows on the floor.

“I wanted to create something that was static in its presence but very dynamic once activated,” she continues. “I love that you have this ever-changing experience when the room interacts with natural light.”

For Marcelis, one of the joys and challenges of working with natural stone – unlike its cast resin, mirror and layered glass – is the unpredictability of the material. “Each slab has its own veins and designs that need to be worked around,” she says. “It was a unique collaboration with nature and a good exercise in letting go.” §

Mehmet Ali Uysal, paper boat2022, Metal. Photography: Courtesy of Istanbul’74


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