“With my art, I express things that I cannot express with words,” says Berlin based artist Anke Eilergerhard. I am the first visitor of the exhibition at Anna Laudel Gallery. We communicate in German, for my side things could get lost easily in translation. However, I am confident to write this piece that her art passes me a lot of the feelings and feelings cannot be wrong.

It is her first time in Istanbul, as well as her vibrant, pulsing, deliciously inviting sculptures. They are in perfect balance but seem as they might just topple over. She points out that they all look as they have faces and they have different personalities, she tells me they are named with human names.

From left to right: Annalotta, Annabeth, Annastasia. Anke Eilergerhard, Resilience Exhibition, Anna Laudel, Istanbul, 2020, Photo by Kayhan Kaygusuz

Resilience Coping with the Virus

They are made of a special silicone material and porcelain. They are so shiny that the gallery created samples to touch for the impulse. Even they seem very soft, once you touch them you realize it is quite solid. Also elastic, it is springing right back into shape. That is one of the notions why she named the exhibition “Resilience”, the material is resilient to pressure. She says, “an artist should always get up again”. Her work 'Heavenly' portrays this notion, to be like a weeble, to make art, to be severely criticized, to accept, to produce again. She says that is such an important aspect that could be generalized to the whole society. “Now we have to deal with this virus and to make the best of it.” This idea comes to life in her works.

Anke Eilergerhard, Heavenly (Red),Highly Pigmented Polyorganosiloxan, Stainless Steel, Ø 35, 2020, Photo by Kayhan Kaygusuz

I Took the Function of the Soccer Ball and Made It Beautiful

“In my works, in Pollen, there is a soccer ball inside. I am not a fan of the game and as the whole society is dominated by it, I took a ball and left it without its’ functions. I made it more beautiful to my eyes.”

Anke Eilergerhard, Die Polle White, leather soccerball, in plexiglass cube, 36 x 36 x 36cm, 2005.

Reminds me of how, for example black communities, use the insulting word 'negro' within themselves, changing the meaning of the word from inside.

Maybe this wonderful way of transformation is Eilergerhard’s way to stay resilient. Entering the gallery is like entering the world she created by transformation.

I am thinking of Eilergerhard as a prism: She takes what comes from the world and just as a prism refracts the light, she gets them out changed, remolded with feelings: figures first, then colours, followed by names.

To find the right colour for a sculpture could take more than two weeks for her, says her husband joining our conversation. These colours represents her emotions, she divides them to positive and negative, and the pastel tones are happier.

The duality of the colours could be observed in shapes and ideas of works. She brings together the elaborateness of Baroque sculptures with silicone material. She interprets the traditional with colour and mistimes it. In her thirty year art career, layered cake has always been an important motive. It reminds me of the roles attributed to women: wedding cakes, cake cream and lace motives or porcelain that seems very traditional and classical that could fit in dowery. On the other hand whirling figures, or "Crown" that seems powerful and straight, echoes with masculinity.

Anke Eilergerhard, Crown, Resilience Exhibition, Anna Laudel, Highly Pigmented Polyorganosiloxan, Stainless Steel, 2016, 35 h x 34 cm.

I ask her how gender roles are reflected in her art.

For me feminine and masculine are actually not separable. In an ideal form, female and male would be a unity.” Just like Yin and Yang making a whole, she adds “If you look at cosmic laws, everything is balanced. Hence the form moves again."

The exhibition continues at Anna Laudel Gallery until December 27th. Still the authenticity of experience makes a huge difference than digital.

Anke Eilergerhard, Lovelyn. It is an installation with sound, an optical illusion happens and it seems as if it pumps with the rhythm. With the name that has "love" in it, it is hard not to get drawn to it. Highly Pigmented Polyorganosiloxan, Stainless Steel, Kaide ile_With Pedestal 230 x 90 x 77 cm, 2016, Photo by Kayhan Kaygusuz

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