AFK | Exhibitions

An Accumulation of Signs

Alize Zorlutuna
Curated by: Jaclyn Quaresma

Please join us on August 16 at 7pm in the Evangeline, Ace Hotel

Artist Talk

The artist will be in attendance at the opening reception.

Ace Hotel Toronto

51 Camden St, Toronto, ON M5V 1V2

Street level entrance, elevator and ramp available. Accessible gender neutral and single occupancy washroom with automatic door.

For a map of Ace Hotel Toronto, click here

COVID-19 Policy

Images Festival is committed to providing an accessible festival and continues to work to reduce barriers to participation at our events. This year, we are implementing a COVID-19 policy to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for all, and to prioritize the participation of people who are disability-identified, immunocompromised, or part of an otherwise vulnerable group.

The following guidelines will be in place: Self-Assessment: We ask that staff and participants screen themselves for COVID-19 before visiting the exhibition.

Alize Zorlutuna is an artist, educator and writer whose interdisciplinary work engages history, ancestral wisdom, and healing to decolonize the body, and to guide themselves closer to the land. As such, the titles of Alize’s work have become an ever important tool for ushering in understanding and openness between the audience and the artwork. Alize’s poetic practice of naming acutely addresses these major themes while simultaneously introducing an opacity that invites manifold interpretations. Resulting from their stay at Ace Hotel Toronto’s inaugural Artist in Residency (A!R) program, An Accumulation of Signs is Alize’s first dive into photo-collage and is just as it is titled to be. 

Through a process of combining, Alize abstracts the structures that construct a space for hosting. At the Ace Hotel, the rich colours, stylish materials (wood, leather, concrete), perfect wear of the furniture, and natural light of the lobby create a comfortable and inviting setting to host guests and visitors to Tkarón:to. In response to their residency in this environment, Alize has created a pair of larger collages and a suite of three smaller works focusing on the hotel’s textiles. The rugs appear to be from or inspired by those made in the SWANA region and carry long-told stories of their own, resisting absorption into Atelier Ace’s–the hotel’s design and marketing team’s– aesthetic. 

Details of the hotel’s rugs have been photographed and enlarged by the artist and further adorned in gold leaf, gilt receipts, and paper, the latter hand-dyed by Alize. The close-up images of the hotel lounge could be mistaken for details of a domestic space: portions of a chair seat, tabletop, and the area rugs give little away outside of the hotel environment. In the rug details, Alize has captured tufted symbols of water, ram’s heads–or, perhaps, scorpions, pre-Abrahamic crosses, nazars, arrows, mother goddesses, apple blossoms, and fetters. These signs each have their own meaning and geographical tethers. By keeping Ace Hotel Toronto's distinctive architecture– the building designed by the acclaimed architecture firm Shim-Sutcliffe– out of the images, Alize allows the rugs to take centre stage.

On a trip home to Anatolia [1] Alize apprenticed in Istanbul to learn the ancient paper-dying technique of Ebru. As tradition dictates, the skill is passed down orally from an expert teacher, or Hoca, to their pupil. Earthen dyes are dripped onto the surface of the water and manipulated by the maker. Gently, paper is placed over top and then slowly lifted to reveal a pattern. Like a photograph, Ebru captures a moment, making still what was and will continue to change. Cut and pasted to photographs of the hotel rugs, Alize uses Ebru as well as gold leaf to gesture beyond the viewer's immediate surroundings, signaling age-old traditions, and contemporary imaginings. In this way, Alize’s augmentations act as a salve applied over the existing patterns, both protecting and reinforcing the symbols and their origins. 

If the photographs and Ebru direct the viewer’s attention to the world outside of the hotel, then the gilt receipts plant them squarely within its walls, operations, and patrons. Taking patterns from the rugs and replicating them on the receipts, Alize renders the record of their spending illegible while reminding the viewer that the hotel is a place of capital exchange. What exactly Alize purchased is no longer the focus; it is the access to capital in the context of a space like the Ace Hotel that holds a social and cultural significance that outweighs the original cost. When included in the photo-collages, the proof of purchase is then reinscribed with a value much higher than that of the original purchase itself. By including the receipts, Alize hints at the complex negotiation of the economic, social, and cultural capital present in the hotel, prompting one to re-evaluate how each of the individual elements included in the photo-collages autonomously hold, carry, and maintain value, and what their accumulation might signify both within and beyond their immediate context. 

[1] The artist refers to their ancestral home as Anatolia, deliberately not referring to the nation state of Turkey as a means to intentionally speak back to land and cultural practices outside of nationalism and the geopolitics of the region.

This exhibition is presented as part of a yearlong partnership between Ace Hotel and Images Festival. Four artists have been invited to participate in quarterly, month-long residencies at the hotel followed by an exhibition of their work. The residency takes place under the theme of (g)host, extending the 2023 festival’s central inquiry and foregrounding moving images to contend with ideas at the intersection of archives, spirit, care, and hospitality.

Alize Zorlutuna is a queer interdisciplinary artist, writer and educator whose work explores relationships to land, culture and the more-than-human, while thinking through, history, ancestral wisdom and healing. Having moved between Tkarón:to and Anatolia (present-day Turkey) both physically and culturally throughout their life has informed Alize’s practice—making them attentive to spaces of encounter. Alize has presented work in galleries and artist-run centres across Turtle Island, including: Plug In ICA, InterAccess, Gallery TPW, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Mercer union Centre For Contemporary Art, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Art Gallery of Burlington, XPACE, Audain Art Museum, Access Gallery, as well as internationally at The New School: Parsons (NY), Mind Art core (Chicago) and Club Cultural Matienzo (Argentina). Alize has been a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Art at OCAD University since 2015.

Photo documentation by Jessann Reece.

Alize Zorlutuna

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