Solidifying Fluidity of Forgetting

Doubtlessly, it’s harder to explain the sculpture than to make it. It should not be easy to dive into the moment when the artist and the material intersect. Because sculpture emerges in the moment in which the artist who shapes it, knows the material well and leads it and lets the material to lead them. The artist and the thing that is being sculpted/shaped share an ontological structure that is comprised of reciprocal movement of eventuating/returning. Perception of the world which starts and continues within the body of the artist; gets into the circulation by turning into a form within the act itself and transforms into a work of art on an ontological-phenomenological ground. When the audience gets involved in this sharing between these two; within the body- work of art-audience triangle, a mutual transition/flow emerges both from inside out and outside in. From a phenomenological point of view this state is called “the miracle of expression” and M. Merleau Ponty sums it up like this: “A sense making which pretends to be an outsider, descends into the inner world and begins to exist there…”[1] It would not be wrong to say that there is an embodied making sense when we look at the sculpture. In the world of meaning[2] , making sense of the sculpture embodies with a rhythm which comes out of the material and returns to it.

Meaning in Ahmet Aydın Atmaca’s sculptures; multiplies in a movement which tries to break away from its own mass, gets longer and is inclined to become fluid but becomes petrified. Busts and bodies; are in the verge of transition in company with upward, downward and backward extensions. These extensions turn into a spider web that can never be broken away and becomes more connected to it over time while trying to break away from where it belongs. These sticky folds that swallow our gaze, are they where transitions begin or end? Or do they intersect both of them? The meaning, which roams among busts, bodies and patterns, tries to fit in to a place/thing that is not yet approved, solved, named by anyone. This moment of movement which dwells in bodies, integrates the meaning and the word which extrudes it. Interventions of Atmaca, which undertake metamorphosis, deterioration and sometimes deprivation, weaves everything that happens in the body and everything that is directed to it in the reality of moment and place, executes in the field of presence. Every movement within the sculptures and outside of it, is directed towards recent past and present future. This web which multiplies like a virus that starts in one body and spreads to other bodies, is all about being in this world, being inside, everything being visible and a unique existence of these bodies in this visibility. The way it perceives itself and others is its spatiality, there is no active or passive time in it. Temporality within this existence is being visible while seeing at the same time. Juxtaposition of the time during which these two actions occur and “the moment” when the intersection moment occurs on its own is the space of reality. Right then and there perception occurs. The circular conditionality between the experience of perception and temporality and the common horizon line thus creates a dynamic atmosphere.  [3] The web extending from bodies and busts; gets knotted in the perception of body that is absorbed or spread to the world by Atmaca. French phenomenologist Merleau Ponty says this: “[…] My body combines the present, past and future with every movement I focus on, it secretes time, rather it does not get pushed by time, it just becomes a place for it in the nature. […]”[4] What we see in Ahmet Aydın Atmaca’s sculptures and patterns shows us this integration in a solidified fluidity. While the artist seeks the shape, in other words while building the shape appropriate for the essence; from where they look they are the center of this world – this relation of opposition – in which they are inside, outside and themselves. While internalizing the things that they picked in the center, they determine the depth of their fiction. Within this infinite multitude that they roam in and is rooted again and again. So what does this root persistently hide?
Now we are talking about root. It would not be wrong at all to think that these sculptures are buried under the ground for a long time now. Maybe in a forest. On a field by the roadside. In one of the cities’ cemeteries which we never have to worry that they will stay green…
Jean Genet writes this in The Studio of Giacometti : “At one time Giacometti told me that he thinks of making a sculpture and then burying it… So that it would someday be unearthed, even after Giacometti himself and even his name is forgotten.” [5] Giacometti’s desire was not for afterlife. It was about taking root, being one with the earth. Will Ahmet Aydın Atmaca’s sculptures with extensions that grows in reverse and resembling the roots of a tree as much as it resembles a spider web, transform into a finding. Is this what the artist wants? What does the artist hide persistently?
The artist who named the exhibition “Remains of Memory”; although they imply an archeological contact through emphasis on remnants, this mentioned word touches the reality that takes root in reverse and while taking root it crumbles. The patterns accompanying the sculptures are the inventory of roots of forgetting and there is an identicalness in separation between them. The intersection that this situation creates, reminds the record of forgetting every time.  If we think about the question of did sculpture set out from the pattern or pattern set out from the sculpture? Both production makes us think about the self-exit and self-return and the exact opposite of this.
“Remains of Memory”; is an exhibition which explains how forgetting covers the earth with solidifying fluidity and takes root in all its majesty as it covers. 


Nazlı Pektaş
Sanat Tarihçisi / Yazar 

[1] Merleau- Ponty, Phénoménologie de la Perception, Gallimard, Paris, 1994 (First edition: 1945), p.369. As cited in: Pascal Dupond, “Dictionnaire Merleau- Ponty”, Emre Şan (transl.), İstanbul: Say Publishing, 2013, p.77.

[2] Jean Luc Nancy, The Creation of the World or Globalization, Murat Erşen, (transl.), İstanbul: Monokl Publishing. 2014, p.57.



[3] Nazlı  Pektaş, Çağdaş Sanatta Beden Algısı, 1960 Sonrası Bedene Merleau-Ponty ile Bakmak,İstanbul, Qualification Thesis on Unpublished Art, Marmara University Institute of Fine Arts, 2013, p.51.

[4] Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of perception, Forrest Williams (transl.), London: Routledge&Kegan Paul, 1981, p.240.

[5] Jean Genet, L’atelier D’Alberto Giacometti, Hür Yumer (transl.), İstanbul: Metis Publishing, 1999, p. 37.