Born in Istanbul in 1955, she arrived in London in 1977. Studied at Brighton (because it was by the sea) graduating in 1982 and the Slade School of Fine Art, London, graduating in 1984 supporting her own education by working in factories, night shifts and catering jobs. She collaborated with Stuart Brisley on The Cenotaph Project (1987-1991) and edited the publication for this project. Decided to mirror a business and set up a shop as an experimental space and a proposal to test ideas in public with an immediate and unambiguous risk element. This space was established within the commercial paradigm, failure was real and meant serious losses. It had a core identity established by presenting certain ‘goods’, other than that it had no ambitions as a business and its purpose was kept deliberately unclear. The flexibility of the speculation proved to be a light footed success. The “shop” was voted as one of the best 50 in the world. At the height of its success the business was no longer relevant. It became a model for others to follow, and therefore was closed. Maya Balcioglu is part of the curatorial team of the Museum of Ordure, she has had a one person show at MAC Belfast and at the Lungley Gallery in 2021. She has shown at The Cambridge Darkroom, Armolfini, Chisenhale Gallery, Kunsthal Aarhus, Raven Row amongst others.
LUNGLEY GALLERY EXHIBITIONS
- KATABASIS journey to the underworld 25/05 - 29/07/2023.
- Recent Drawings and Fabric Works 05/08 - 25/09/2021.
Recent Drawings and Fabric Works
Statement for Lungley Gallery
I started working with fabric during the first lockdown. I am not sure what exactly triggered this other than a general sense of no progress, as if continuously rereading the same page, I was looking for an intermediary form, a go-between, a sense of potential in the long stretched present. I had been working with mylar, cutting film strips, painting, but this was a mechanical application of ideas about time and motion, in essence no different to painting or drawing.
At the same time, I was witnessing people arriving in dinghies on the beach in front of our house, seeing them coated with blankets, surrounded by border police, ambulances, rescue workers, a different level opens up.
The power of what I was seeing in these huddled images are present, combined with the power of thought they traffic in the gaps of the mind. So the fabric works are studies of introspection, methods of stripping finite analysis, through the agency of anachronic atmospheres in which time stands still. In these works objects are expressions, brutal at times and irrational. They are deconstructions; taking things apart, expressing reversal and internal workings. Stitching is about focus on the object, it is slow, intentional and limitless. It is also a tool to reject certainty.
Drawings speak for themselves. It’s my primary tool, it is as essential as the self and the ego. It is vital and intimate in every sense. It grounds and reflects knowledge. And yet what it identifies cannot be reduced to acquired knowledge through sensory organs. It is a dance of reflective experience and an affirmation of life.
Gogol said that the function of the image is to express life itself, not ideas or arguments about life.
I would add that image is a momentary illumination with a flicker of truth.
Dungeness, July 2021
Untitled (3 Tondos) (2021)
Ink, etching ink, kaolin on paper 55 cm (Diameter) each.
Left to right: Untitled (1998) Ink on paper, 37.5 cm x 37.5 cm Untitled (2020) Ink on paper, 30 cm x 38 cm.
Float mounted and framed.
Included in the group exhibition 175 Wardour Street at Lungley gallery, 2020.
Statement for exhibition at MAC Belfast 2021
The works in this show span a period of 15 years.
The large ink drawings on paper were done between 2006-10.
The map drawing in 2019, latex works between 2019-20 and the more recent fabric works cover the period from the first lockdown in May 2020 to now.
Almost all the works, mostly drawings and books from the last 30 years hover around formlessness, writing, stains left from bodily fluids and stigmata like appearances located in an in-between state of consciousness and slumber. Many of the half recognisable figures are in repose, neither figurative nor abstract, it’s an intermediary condition.
In this show, the ink drawings from 2006-10 fold into each other as one continuous movement. They start with an autobiographical reference; witnessing the bathing, wrapping the body in a white shroud and burial of a person close to me, the body laid out on muddy earth and then covered. I imagined how the body slowly lost it’s form, eaten by creatures as it decayed. From this point on drawings coil and move.
Latex works continue in the same general direction. Where the figures drawn in ink were often asleep or dead, I see the latex works as a skinning, removal of the outer layer, the surface of the body that holds everything inside in-together has been flayed.
In the most recent fabric works the shroud seems to have reappeared as found pieces of fabric, often previously used or left as remnants which are sold cheaply. Some of them have had lives as table linens, curtains, bed covers, dresses etc. Stitching is both holding together what otherwise might fall apart as well as text, note or as an entry.
I have been thinking about these more like montages. Much like the map drawing which was a piece of paper on which I worked to make other works.
I did not determine how these fabrics or this paper on the table began their lives. I’m bringing forward objects that were left aside, half completed or represent aspirations.
It’s a detour.
Ink on paper, 125 x 155 cm.