Curator Jing Yi Teo muses on Sergen Şehitoğlu’s mathematical abstractions and faraway signals within a time of global crisis.
I’ll admit I was nervous on my way to view Pebbles, Sergen Şehitoğlu’s solo exhibition at SANATORIUM. Having been in self-imposed quarantine for the large part of the past seven months, I was about to see art — art that had been installed in a space I would be standing in for the first time since we were adjusting to clanking elbows in place of wine glasses in early March. I was nervous, not with the worry that my now possibly recalibrated senses and mental state would be overwhelmed, nor that I was about to be in the physical presence of other people, but whether I could, or should, view art without the context of the current ongoings. In 2017, the writer Orit Gat wondered “whether there is a way for art not to seem detached” during a time the world was beginning to grapple with what a Trump presidency meant amidst an escalating refugee crisis and an impending Brexit. Fast forward three years where every foot between the next person and myself protuberates with chance, fear and downright awkwardness, all thanks to infectious particles at once omnipresent and elusive.