Against the Current

Güneş Terkol, 1981

Against the Current, 2013

Born in Ankara in 1981, Güneş Terkol graduated from the Department of Painting at Mimar Sinan University Faculty of Fine Arts in 2004, and from the Yıldız Technical University’s Art and Design master’s degree program in 2008. Her works have been shown in large-scale exhibitions such as the 53rd Bienal de São Paulo (2016), the 10th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2014), the Lyon Biennial, France (2009), and the 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007) in addition to exhibitions at MAXXI, Rome; Whitechapel Gallery, London; SculptureCenter, New York; and MAK, Vienna. Terkol has been an artist in residence at La Cité internationale des arts, Paris (2016), ISCP, New York (2013), and Gasworks, London (2010).

Terkol’s works in weaving, video, design and sound address stories, relationships, and social conditions drawn from her own history as well as her acquaintances’ experiences. She depicts modes of conforming and coping strategies used especially by women in the changing social and cultural conditions of contemporary Turkey. In addition to her solo works, the artist creates performances with groups such as the collective Ha Za Vu Zu, of which she has been a member since 2005, and the more recently formed GuGuOu.

Collective production and collaboration toward a mutual goal are important in Terkol’s art practice. The seven-piece banner project that she has been creating in Istanbul and various cities around the world since 2010 is one outcome of this concern. For the artist, creating banners provides the opportunity for people to come together, share ideas, and discuss before protesting an issue. The cloth banner project “Against the Current” was created at a workshop the artist organized together with women who responded to her open call about Women’s Day during the “Signs Taken in Wonder” exhibition at MAK, Vienna, in 2013. “Against the Current” provided a poetic area where women could express their ideas and emotions about immigration, socioeconomic issues, and problems of communication arising from living in a foreign country, as well as work and family life. Terkol wove an image of the city of Vienna on the back of the 200 x 300 cm banner, while portraying a group of women holding banners at a protest on the foreground. During the workshop, the women exchanged thoughts and ideas about a variety of subjects such as feminism, women’s rights, inequalities in the world of business, and the patriarchal expressions found in proverbs, and chose a total of ten slogans, which they then collectively sewed onto banners they later held up. “Against the Current” demonstrates the struggles of women who persevere in defending their rights despite problems, injustices, and hardships.




Embroidery on fabric

Credit Line

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Collection

Acquired by the Women Artists Fund.

2017 Members of the Women Artists Fund

Mehveş Arıburnu, Işık Keçeci Aşur, Berrak Barut, Banu Çarmıklı, Oya Eczacıbaşı, Hatice Meriçten, Beril Miskavi, Meltem Demirören Oktay, Ebru Özdemir, Nesrin Sarıoğlu, Müge Sevil, Rana Erkan Tabanca, Türkan Özilhan Tacir