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Hacer Kıroğlu - Silent Squares in Karaköy

Pasaj, Karaköy, Istanbul

An exhibition about silence and emptiness in Karaköy, but also about how Russian icons are placed in traditional houses, about laziness, about the coincidence of a Greek bookshop on the same upper floor as an orthodox Russian church, how Malevich’ Black Square kept returning, about a white painted dome that Hacer Kıroğlu photographed in an attempt of preservation and about a devout woman that will not clean a square on the floor of her church throughout the period of this exhibition.

For Hacer Kıroğlu the square is the most simple and basic form. She 'opens' the square on many surfaces, as she did in her earlier works in the public space.

For this exhibition she takes the square room of the Nimet Han as a zero point, as the center of a storm that continuously changes the surrounding neighbourhood in a city where worlds connect and clash. She placed works in four different locations, from old traditional Han’s to secret roof churches of Karaköy. All of them produced as she searched for the silence of a square.

Silent Square, 2018


In a traditional Russian household the religious icon is placed in the right corner of the living room. Upon entering the house this icon is to be venerated first, even before greeting the host.


When Kazimir Malevich exhibits his famous Black Square in 1915 for the 0.10 exhibition in Moscow, he decides to use the same sacred placement as the traditional Russian icon: in the upper right corner of the room.

The work Sessiz Kare consists of dense charcoal lines that Hacer Kıroğlu draws in a rhythmic motion on paper. The work is placed in that same sacred spot both referring to Malevich’ hanging of the black square and the placement of the icon in the traditional Russian house.

The paper is filled with the residue of the sound that escaped while making the traces. Hacer left an empty square representing the silence and inactivity contrasting the traces of sound and motion.

The Impossibility of Preservation, 2018

On the top floor of the building Hacer Kıroğlu found an abandoned space whose architecture betrays itself to have belonged to a church. The vaulted ceiling is covered with white paint that has started to crumble and fall. It conceals a religious past that this space once held. Throughout the changing of time it became a storage for a forgotten archive. Hacer Kıroğlu took two photographs in order to keep this memory of the building, because she learned that in a neighbourhood like this it might soon change and this particular history of the building could soon be forgotten as well.

Hacer Kıroğlu made 200 copies of these photographs and added them to the files in the archive. This work attempts to reveal the traces of the past in a place where history rushes by, as it cleans and covers its buildings and their memories with white paint and plaster.

Man’s Essential Reality: Laziness, 2015

Just behind the Nimet Han building there is the Aziz Andrea Manastırı Hanı. Located on the top floor are both the hidden St. Andrea Russian Orthodox Church and istos, an office of a Greek publisher and bookshop.

The hallway that connects those two shows a deteriorated fresco of the Vatopedi Monastery in Greece. Depicted ships with Turkish flags make their way to this holy site that is still important for both the Russian and Greek branch of the Orthodox Church.

Istanbul, and moreover Karaköy, functioned as a connection point for pilgrims from Russia that travelled to Greece. This building was a famous resting point for the travelling pilgrims.

For the work Man’s essential reality: Laziness Hacer Kıroğlu erases the complete printed content of the book with the same title. It contains a text by the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich. She gathers the residue of the erasers, puts them on a table next to the erased book and creates an empty square in the middle of the residue.  

Square of Dust and Steps, 2018

Another Russian orthodox roofchurch related to the Vatopedi Monastery is the St. Panteley Church. This colourful church is very active and open to visitors and people that come and pray to their saints and numerous icons that decorate this hidden church. Maria Mazova works on a daily basis and diligently cleans the church. For the work Square of dust and steps, Hacer Kıroğlu asked her not to clean a square on the floor of the church throughout the exhibition period. During this time, this square will be filled with dust and steps of devout visitors. This work is an attempt to challenge the inevitable changes happening to the neighbourhood all around this historical church.

exhibition booklet EN
sergi broşürü TR
Ekran Görüntüsü (50).png

Many thanks to: Amira Akbıyıkoglu - Egeman Tuncer - Ricky Cherim - istos Publishing - Pilot Galeri - St. Panteley Church

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