Pre-order - Pinar Yolaçan - Mother Goddess
Mother Goddess, published by Baron, showcases the work of artist Pinar Yolaçan and serves as an artefact of her visual explorations of the body, along the themes of gender and otherness. The book features photographs from several series across the artist’s career, including the titular Mother Goddess (2009), White Sands (2010), Like a Stone (2011), and Carmel (2011).
Placing the female body at the centre of her work, the corporeal for Yolaçan does not only comprise subject matter, but is as much a medium as the photographs themselves. As she articulates, in a 2015 interview for Wetterling Gallery “I am looking at the body as a material to work with, like how bronze or plaster can be a material for some artists, flesh and the body are mine”.
The photographs, displayed in this book, reveal Yolaçan’s boundary-pushing approach to creating images of the body, as anatomical forms are altered, abstracted or obscured by the incorporation of mixed materials, such as fabric, latex, plaster, mesh, and paint.
At many points, across her selected works, the human body is caught in the act of transmutation, straddling the line between living and inorganic.
In her series, Carmel, the tailoring of garments around the subject’s body disrupts expected corporal silhouettes and are suggestive of futurist paintings. In both Mother Goddess and Like a Stone, bodies veer between being and object as the artist invokes historic sculptural forms, including a Pre-Neolithic Anatolian fertility vessel, classical poses and Ancient Egyptian sculptures.
Recalling and re-framing history is another characteristic of Yolaçan’s oeuvre, and, in this way, she deliberately resists modern western beauty conventions. When casting for Mother Goddess, the artist sought individuals from her native Turkey, whose bodies resembled the anthropomorphic vessels and fertility goddess statues, inspiring the series: for Like a Stone she solicited models on SSBBW (Super-Sized Big Beautiful Women) fetish forums. Voluptuous bodies occupy the space of compositions in Like a Stone and this ode to flesh challenges conventional narratives of who is allowed to be photographed and seen. Curvaceousness is celebrated as having an inherent aesthetic value, while the interplay of softness, with textural elements applied to the skin, lend the images a tactile and deeply sensorial aspect.
There is much more to be said about the sensory and carnal potential of Yolaçan’s photographs. Striking images from the Mother Goddess series recall club kid and kink subcultures, which coalesce with the objectification of bodies-as-vessels to lend the work a fetishistic quality. This is not to say that subjects are fetishised. Rather, they become objects of divine power: commanding the viewer’s attention, exercising a right to disturb, and inspiring an unsettling eroticism.
Mother Goddess contains an introduction by writer and curator Charlotte Jansen.
Pinar Yolaçan (b.1981, Ankara, Turkey) studied Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins and Fine Art Media at the Chelsea School of Art and Design, before completing a BFA at the Cooper Union School of Art, in 2004. Yolaçan has had solo shows at YKY (Istanbul), The Finnish Museum of Photography (Helsinki), The Centre for Contemporary Art (Lagos) and Wetterling Gallery (Stockholm). Since 1997, reviews about her work have regularly appeared in The New York Times, Art in America, ArtReview, Bidoun, Dutch, Rolling Stone and i-D magazine. Yolacan's work is in the permanent collections of The J. Paul Getty Museum, Museum of Fine Art Boston, KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, The International Center of Photography, Saatchi Gallery and The Zabludowicz Collection. Yolacan lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
28 x 34 cm