Gürsoy Doğtaş on Suburbia

“All ancestors are like fruit on tree branches,” the writer Pascal Quignard reflects on the way time is envisioned as the past. On the one hand, there is the idea of the irreversibility of time (the dead do not return), and on the other, the return of time (the ever-repeating seasons of the year). From this, different forms of the past can be deducted: one “that has to be buried, buried under stones, buried in dolmens [...].” That is, one “that needs to be disposed of once and for all.” Another past is “intended to represent a downward movement, built on two axes that face each other, stemming from the recursive, celestial, seasonal cycle that allows the animal, vegetative, and social life to return every year.” Thus, a “past that is to be retrieved.” The cyclical and the irreversibility of time overlap in this exhibition.

As if taken out of time, gleams Evanthia Tsantila’s tree made out of golden ink. Her ink work “Suburbia” (2005) fixes an obliquely growing tree that threatens to collapse under its own weight despite its supporting man-made braces. Unlike paintings of the Middle Ages, Evanthia Tsantila does not use gold as an ideal background but allows the picture’s subject to shine. The gold bestows the old (possibly even dying) tree, which is situated within an urban environment, with the aura of paradise. “How is the palimpsest of centuries inscribed into the tree’s body?” asks the artist. Like a casket, the tree keeps the traces of time under its bark. It counts the years with each of its rings. The trace becomes, as Quignard sums it up, a site. Evanthia Tsantila, on the other hand, turns the tree into a place of worship for earthly and otherworldly narratives from the past. (...)

Gürsoy Doğtaş
München, summer 2022

For the exhibition: "Esra Ersen / Heritage - Evanthia Tsantila / Suburbia"
Gallery FRANÇOISE HEITSCH, “VariousOthers 2022” München