Jessica Silverman Gallery is pleased to present “Ciphers,” a solo exhibition of new paintings, GIF animations and sculptures by Hayal Pozanti.
A cipher is a code, a clandestine way of writing, used to protect sensitive information. Pozanti has created a cipher system, titled “Instant Paradise,” whereby numbers and letters from the English language are replaced by her own iconic alphabet. Through this encryption, Pozanti’s works explore the polemics of communication, examining the privatization of information and the dissemination of data in the Internet age.
The “Instant Paradise” alphabet consists of pictograms, created through a process of superimposing translucent letter stencils that transform standard shapes into new, abstract forms. Pozanti’s square canvases contain two forms layered on top of one another that correspond to real statistics the artist has gathered through published surveys. Ironically, the statistics relate to censorship, freedom of speech, Internet privacy, and the public good. The display of these highly geometric paintings is meant to mirror the serial effects of scrolling through a webpage or an app such as Instagram, in which the picture is the message. Many of the works adopt the cool palettes associated with digital screens, calibrated to use less data and energy. In addition to these paintings, Pozanti has made sculptures that take the white negative space found between the layered forms into three dimensions.
Pozanti’s animated GIFs are integral to her practice. They evoke both anthropomorphic forms and linguistic characters, and suggest imaginary machines and flows of alien communication. These new GIF animations display a looped feed of encrypted texts, reminiscent of the rain of numbers in The Matrix, as well as the ticker tape of the stock exchange. Like the source material for the paintings, Pozanti transforms widely available statistical information into a cryptic, aesthetically alluring stream of forms.
With the increasing ephemerality and insecurity of the information age, Pozanti’s work proposes an interface with digital tools that denies the inherent transience of networked data and proposes an Internet reality that is not dislocated from human history. Pozanti approaches the dissemination of data in an animistic way; her hand-made hybrid figures seem to be in the dormant phase before receiving or expelling action. In multiple mediums, the artist creates forms that begin to personify digital tools, a process that introduces a sense of existential physicality to seemingly immaterial networks and processes. For “Ciphers,” Pozanti turns the public into the private, allowing the viewer to question his or her own position as a producer and consumer of digital information.
Hayal Pozanti was born in Istanbul in 1983 and now lives in New York. She has an MFA from Yale University and a BA from Sabanci University. She was featured in Prospect 3, the New Orleans biennial and is in the collections of JP Morgan and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Pozanti has exhibited in Berlin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milan and New York. She is in upcoming shows at Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut, Cornell Fine Arts Museum in Florida and the Sabanci Art Museum in Istanbul. Pozanti is represented by Jessica Silverman. This is her second solo exhibition at the San Francisco gallery.