International solo exhibition of Hande Varsat (VAVCD 05)


Hande Varsat, a graduate of Sabancı University FASS-VAVCD program 2005, is opening her first solo international exhibition, Tradition’s Triangle, in El Punto del Carmen gallery, Valencia, Spain on December 17, 2010.


Born into a conservative family which migrated from Central Anatolia to cosmopolitan Istanbul, Hande has gone through an education which emphasizes individualism and perhaps even glamorize the ‘uniqueness’ of each person to an unrealistic degree. Instead of rejecting one of these two realities, she accepted the challenge of being pushed and pulled around between two conflicting modes of thinking and the tension this choice brought along with it to all fields of her life. Within the cocoon woven by these contradictions, she is able to breathe through the space of freedom her art provides her with. In her words, “In order to manifest our existence and feel worthy of respect, we sometimes may feel the urge to deny those values which are imposed upon us by the society in which we live. Proving our internal strength in such a manner may seem as if it’s a way out of this existential conundrum and a first step towards defining ourselves in a ‘consistent’ manner. Rather than being pulled and pushed between two extremities, we find it easier to reject one side completely. What if we chose not to reject either side?”

Now 27, Hande is composing her first solo exhibition by generalizing to Turkish women the lifetime tension she experienced between tradition and individualism. Her journey of self discovery unfolds before the viewer as she intends to differentiate the textures of her own inner being from both the drive of individualism and the pressure of tradition. For disclosing her inconsistencies, her choice of space is appropriate: The vital space of the Moorish Wall, functioning as a historical monument in the modern and individualist West, Valencia. When we consider the relationship between religion and conservatism, the space in which Tradition’s Triangle is positioned gains a broader meaning. It is in this triangular space which refers to the Devil’s Triangle and therefore embodies the assumption of failure that Hande Varsat’s quest for self discovery and her internal questioning transform into a historical encounter.

Honor, virtue, intimacy, virginity, prejudice, pressure, individual, woman, girl, mother, home, family, labor, patience, trousseau and embroidery are the keywords that guide Varsat in recreating snapshot stories centered around Turkish women. With these small stories, what we label as ‘inconsistencies’ reconstruct themselves, leaving the spectator with a feeling of bitter admiration. 

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