Ahmet Civelek’s first solo exhibition with Istanbul’s Pi Artworks “Number 3: Grit” closed at the end of December. In the show, the artist employed artistic intentions and chance operations to create an unexpected exploration of the relationship between creation and destruction. Comprised of three different groups of artworks, it featured one central medium—sandpaper.
The sculptures, paintings, and large-scale installation make up an almost-playful, visually pleasing body of work in a range of varying sandpaper grits, colors, and textures. Upon further investigation, visitors come across an interesting complication: when used as designed, sandpaper creates smoothness and polish, while its potential for destruction remains. After repeated use, the sandpaper itself slowly decomposes.
On the floor, a larger-than-life sandpaper roll is meant to be walked upon, calling on human interaction to fulfill its intended design. As visitors traverse the grainy surface, the soles of their shoes slowly wear down, as they simultaneously aided in the destruction of the sandpaper.
Growing up in Istanbul, the artist frequently experienced bombings at consulates, synagogues, and banks, and he was simultaneously engrossed in Western mass media—something filled with violence and failure for the purpose of entertainment. As destruction became a revisited concept for him, the artist created The Destruction Company, a project where visitors could come and destroy different items. Today, Civelek’s exploration of destruction has evolved towards more subtle, metaphorical methods, as seen in “Number 3: Grit.”