8 March – 30 April 2000, Bahariye
Shop Windows and I
I have always liked watching shop windows. The first window I literally glued myself to was that of a toyshop named Ülgen. In the Ankara of my childhood, the shop was on Atatürk Boulevard, next to the sales booth of the National Lottery. While my parents bought tickets, I would run next door to stand gazing at the two dolls placed in two corners of the window. The porcelain dolls were almost my size. One had golden locks, the other black. Their blue glass eyes would close when put te sleep. I preferred the beautiful brunette, which resembled Elizabeth Taylor’s childhood. Wearing a white striped blue dress with baby-styled collar and balloon-shaped sleeves; black patent leather shoes and white socks, this doll embellished my dreams for months. At home, I declared a few times how badly I wanted to own it, but I was told that it coasted as much as my father’s monthly income: Two hundred Turkish liras to be exact. So, I refrained. Frankly, it had not occurred to me why my parents never missed the lottery draws?.. Could the prize go to buy me that doll?..
Berk Stocking and Bijouterie opened towards the end of the eighties on Moda Avenue. The shop window caught my attention with what it displayed (The lingerie that I had painted on woman’s bodies in my Object Women series – in Red and Black, for instance – were now put on plastic mannequins) as well as how it displayed. Moulded plastic legs with their toes pointing upwards were scattered around in the window. The fillet or lace knitted stocking adorned with embroidery or artificial gems were accompanied either by a gigantic paper fan or by a huge plastic heart. The images of the world reflecting on the shop’s window coalesced with the provocativeness of the objects behind; the gloss of the satin, the transparency of the nylon mixed with the sheen of the plastic. I could not keep from taking several pictures. Berk Stockings painted in 1989 is the first work of the series I made using, these photographs. This shop closed down a few years later. It was first replaced by a music store, and then, by a greengrocery. Now, a bric-a-brac dealer occupies the place.
It was again in the late eighties when I first saw and was absolutely flabbergasted by the Ebrusan shop window. What was a window like this doing right in the middle of Beyoglu? Were we not living in a Muslim Middle Eastern country? These were the first questions that came to my mind, because here were displayed the kind of goods which one could find in the West, in sex-shops, behind closed doors, only. Artificial leather garments linked to sado-masochism were presented along with whips; assorted underpants stretched on whoops of red or white satin cloth hung from the ceiling. The canvas roll I painted between 1993-96 are products of this astonishment. Much has changed ever since, though. First, the owner of the Ebrusan firm died. Then, the shop window was tamed considerably!.. The shop is still there, but the window is not what it used to be, anymore.