Inside the Cistern, Özge Topçu
May 21 - June 30, 2022, Hypercube Space
Hypercube Project Space is hosting its founder and artist Özge Topçu’ s first solo exhibition in Portugal. In her exhibition ‘Inside the Cistern’, Özge transforms her art studio into an underground water reservoir in an experimental way. To do so, she transports virtually a cistern from the historical area of Istanbul to the centre of Lisbon.
The exhibition, ‘Inside the Cistern’ adopts an approach that differs from conventional art shows. It is an open work-in-progress exhibition, with the result of the artist's practice developing from a concept at the beginning to a final iteration at the end of the 6 weeks exhibition period. Ozge, in the exhibition, invites her audience to be part of her journey through their participation in various public programs during the exhibition period.
Inspired by a historical cistern in Istanbul, Nuruosmaniye Cistern, which Ozge became familiar with whilst making a site specific installation in early 2022, ‘Chamber’, she found that the sensory characteristic was very similar to her studio in Lisbon (Hypercube Space).
After completing ‘Chamber’, and returning to her studio in Lisbon, she started to work on extending her work into different senses and their digital embodiments. Connecting with her last artistic medium research into digital art, NFTs and the metaverse, she decided to experiment with visualisations of different perceptions. Ozge's approach is similar to synesthesia and in this exhibition she plays with a variety of scents, notes, sounds, visual illusions, perceptual biases and memories to alter our perception of space and time.
About her experience whilst creating ‘Chamber’, she said that, ‘ When I walked into the space, there was not much to recognize visually. It was a dark place, full of water and a creeping damp feeling under your skin. I felt the strong humidity on my tissues, I heard the sound of water movements, I smelled the mould on the walls, I became a part of the water cycle in the space myself.”
Considering the ratio of water in the human body and the planet earth, both contain 70% water - this work researches how human senses react to water neuroscientifically, being part of a living earth, carrying the essential life material in its body and communicating with the part in the environment. Water is a molecule that responds perfectly to the needs of life on the planet Earth and maintains the life cycle of living creatures. In this work Ozge is trying to reconstruct its existence in the digital environment and search for its transferable meaning in the metaverse.
When we think deeper about the role water plays in the cycle of life, it very much mirrors the role of electricity and binary digits in the digital environment.Then, the cistern as a space, adopt a meaning as the source of digital production.
Ozge uses experimental art methods that employ specific digital characteristics of NFTs to render them visible. As such the ‘Inside the Cistern’ exhibition attempts to integrate our physical existence with the virtual.
Özge Topçu, born in 1987, lives and works in Lisbon and Istanbul.
She is known for her large-scale installations that resonate with architecture and reveal the dynamics of the urban and psychogeography. She is inspired by history, architectural elements, and the positive sciences. Recently she started to create big scale and digital installations in Virtual Reality. She combines real places with digital 3d artworks.
She is a grant 2019 recipient from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. In 2018 she was nominated for MAC Ulster Bank International Art Prize in the UK and participated in Art Night London 2018 with her project “Agora”. She has taken part in several solo and group exhibitions in Istanbul, Berlin, London, Belfast, Amsterdam and Lisbon.