When researching Witte de With’s exhibition history in preparation of her participation in the In Light Of 25 Years project, artist Özlem Altın was instantly drawn to Pas d’histoire, Pas d’histoire (No Story, No History), the first large scale solo exhibition by Belgian artist Joelle Tuerlinckx in 1994. She asks herself how to make Tuerlinckx’ work resonate in her own and whether this personal resonance and reflection could establish a platform that allows new perspectives or readings on how stories and histories are created and displayed?

Altın, whose practice also encompasses painting and photography, often combines images gathered from different sources and re-contextualises them, uprooting them from their origin. She shares with Tuerlinckx a great interest in what she calls suspended objects and gestures. Much like Pas d’histoire, Pas d’histoire (No Story, No History) in 1994, Altın’s work No story, no consists of an open ended constellation of image and text.

Just like the light box itself is suspended in the air, big like a wall yet light like a picture frame, the images on view depict hands, both human and artificial, in various stages of suspended movement, manipulating different objects. The point of these gestures remains unknown.

The notion of the gesture, a movement of the hands, is prominent in this work. French art historian Henri Focillon wrote in his essay “In Praise of Hands“ (1934): “Through his hands man establishes contact with the austerity of thought.” And indeed, Altın is working through her thoughts, drawing from multiple sources to create two enigmatic digital collages, shown in the light box along with a small painting by Altın and a print of an installation shot taken during Tuerlinckx’ exhibition in 1994.

Accompanying the work is a small publication titled Notes on notes, which combines Özlem’s own notes and images with selected notes written by Tuerlinckx and previously published in the Witte de With Cahier #3. This publication is available for sale at Witte de With and Printroom, Rotterdam.

—Supported by

SAHA Association