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Nature in the Grey Everyday

6. November 2019

Nature in the Grey Everyday

6. November 2019 Katharina

Hello, good to see you. Today, we are going to look at three collages by the Turkish artist Merve Özaslan. We will think about the forest. And about how pictures are inserted in collages. It is because of the pictures’ arrangement, that the collages tell their particular stories.

Meetting Point

In our interview Merve Özaslan talks about how we have distanced ourselves from nature. It made me think about my relation to nature. I love being in nature. But do we do enough to preserve nature with all ist beauty and variety?

Vertigo, Merve Özaslan

When I think about nature, the forest comes to my mind. Forrests can be magical places. Just think about J. R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’. There trees become beings that can talk and even move.

But what happens when we see the forrest from above? Does this perspective change how we feel about it? Does the forest also become a rather uncanny place? The forrest seen from the bird perspective, we find this in Merve Özaslan’s collages. Let us discover their stories with the following questions:

  1. What role does the forest play in the collages?
  2. Which stories do the collages convey?
  3. Which is our favourite collage?

What role does the forest play in the collages?

In ‘Puddle converted’ we encounter two women in a city. They have to cross something. In the original photograph it might have been a puddle. Now it is a forest. One woman steps just over it. The other one is preparing her run.

The street opens and a forest seen from above fills this gap. It becomes more then a place in nature. The forest, a rather uncanny, impenetrable place into which the women could fall into.

A forrest in a gap, we see this also in ‘Help’. A man holds the hand of a jumping woman. Underneath them there is the forest. It fills the gap but it does not appear that uncanny. They couple stand in a void but they do not fall down. They seem to hover above the forest.

Vertigo, Merve Özaslan

Also in ‘Vertigo’ do we see the forrest from above. But it is not About Crossing it. Two women search for hold. They sit on the Edge and search for something. Their feed are digging into the void. Can they go on? The forrest is here a place in nature the women might want to reach.

Which stories do the collages convey?

There are sentences that stick to our mind. My favourite art historian Max Imdahl once said: ‘It is all as it is. Unless, it would be different.’ At first, I did not understand its meaning. However, when we look at a collage we might see how crucial his words are.

Puddle converted, Merve Özaslan

Merve Özaslan’s collages consist of two parts. There are the black-and-white photographs. And into particular them the artist inserted coloured pictures of the forest.

Because of the pictures’ arrangement, the collages tell their stories. If the forests would appear in another place in the collage, the story could be another one. Now, ‘it is all as it is.’

From their grey world the figures come into contact with the green forest. The collages tell us about women who cross the gap like in ‘Puddle converted’.

They tell us about a couple that flies above a fairytale forest. Until they reach the other side, their everyday again. Just like in ‘Help’.

And the collages are about women who approach the forest. They still have to find their way, but they are already trying.

Which collage do we like in particular?

In all three collages, we see figures in movement. We are familiar with these movements, how often do we cross a street or do we even have to jump? But one of these movements arouses a particular feeling inside of me. And we find this in ‘Vertigo’.

Do we not feel a little bit dizzy seeing these two women? The gap underneath them is deep, the forest is still far away. But then again, as the women are approaching the forest, it seems closer then in the other two collages. These green trees, their protective arms, I would like to be there, too.

Here in ‘Vertigo’ the forest is inserted so that it belongs to the women. They are searching their way towards it. And then we return to Merve Özaslan and her wish that we come closer to nature. Maybe we do this like the women, step by step, or we just run into the forest.


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