Acrylic and inkjet print on canvas, 70 X 100 cm, 2016

Screenings of Daily Life

Screens of everyday life

Eat, drink, wash, sleep, dress, shave, brush teeth, …, sit, stand, sit back,… each and every gesture punctuates our daily life and use the mechanics and the kinetics of our bodies. Qualified as common, banal, repetitive, monotonous, routine, these trivial acts that pace our daily rhythm, the flows of these physical experiences are infinite and cannot be listed. The act of circumscribing, identifying, classifying them would bring about doubt, uncertainty, and most importantly, exclusion. Surely nothing prevents us singing while showering, or eating while discussing, drinking while calling, checking e-mails while walking, taking a photo or drawing on a tablet while comfortably seated on a chair or an airplane seat… From this angle, the listing of daily gestures is difficult because it calls in stereotyped physical habits, often governed by culturally differentiated traditions. Such a listing exercise would also entail a regular update that would incorporate the new gestures generated by the use of new objects hardly conceivable just a few years ago. By inviting themselves and forcing their rule of conduct, the objects/fruits of technological development not only reinvent our ways of being and knowing, but also, and perhaps most importantly, our relationship to the world. Our bodies are now connected physically/ mentally and virtually to keyboards but also through various types of screens that opens on/ closes off different worlds. Our gestures evolve and move accordingly.
Whether culturally rooted or newly acquired, the daily gestures do not therefore exclude sharing, nor practicing, arts.
Isil Kurmus is inviting us to an immersion in this undetermined universe, and constantly moving daily life. She seizes this seeming banality, transfigures it through a set of bi-dimensional plastic proposals, by combining the printed and the drawn on the screen of her computer and the infinities of its windows.

Sources of the banal 

It’s on the shelves of the library of Tunis that Isil has first found her iconographic elements. Her primary source is then the printed object. The book she chose cannot be qualified as artistic: it presents a wide range of ordinary gestures that compose and rhythm the daily life of citizens in the 20th century. By dissecting the gestures and representing them movement by movement, the authors seek to highlight the implication of the members and their muscular functioning. Thus, in a sitting position, the shoulder is slightly rotated internally, the elbow is flexed to 70 degrees, the hip is flexed to 70 degrees; slight external abduction and rotation… The observations and measurements are associated to each movement. Isil takes hold of the book’s schematic illustrations.
It is amid the unpredictable bowels of her computer, her mobile phone and her body working in front of a screen that Isil drags out the other iconographic components of her work. Screens opening onto several windows, keyboards, toolbars, various icons, cursors, images generated by the computer’s operating systems, images/ landscapes that Isil shot during her travels… as many “substances” and images that cross her daily life henceforward in touch with the televisual and virtual… as many “ingredients” capable of moving or becoming dots, lines, threads, … and constructing a plastic space. To these diverse sources, should be added the images springing out of her memory, her childhood memories, images reviving through objects belonging to her daily life back then… balloons, marbles, slates and blackboards.

Photomontage and transfiguration 

Once gathered, these miscellaneous materials that represent various counterparts of everyday life are exploited and subjected to the photomontage software parameters. This is, strictly speaking, the stage of choices, selections and shaping. Image by image, Isil structures her space, divides her figures, decides on the light and darkness, the printing zones, the empty spaces…, and thus elaborates her first matrix. Once printed on the canvas, the photographic images will constitute a support upon which she draws freehand pictures using an acrylic paint marker, and uses pictures coming straight from the corporal representations of the book on the gestures of daily life. On the printed canvas, she stresses the darkness of an area using spray paint, lightens another area using white chalk and restructures yet another one… to readjust and homogenize the new plastic entity. The “screens of daily life” Isil suggests crisscrosses mixed images from different facts, esthetics, finalities and techniques. Acrylic pictures, a piece of printed picture of a photography originating itself from a televisual picture evoking a Turkish series, printed icons derived from a “vocabulary” originating from the computer world and operating systems… … will all be represented on an identical plane. The work of transfiguration of the daily life fully operates and mutes the most banal imagery into coherent plastic proposals, providing diverse perceptions.

We find particularly strong signs that remind us of the previous works of Isil who was trained at the school and engraving studio of the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Tunis. We recall her minimalist universe that combines black and white with color, the line with the surface, the figurative with the abstract. We recall her representational spaces that combine pictures, scanned marks and photographic images, playing with manual and technical reproducibility. We recall, under a renewed expression, the love of the artist for mark, her affection for the printed, her appeal for the educational spaces. We thereby discover another Isil, undoubtedly wrought by other daily elements than her actual life.

Welcome to Isil, success in her Screens of everyday life!

Artist, Lecturer at ISBAT
Tunis, March 16, 2016  

Using Format