Elif Varol Ergen’s Morbid Reflections of Motherhood

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Elif Varol Ergen makes macabre subject matter fun to observe. The artist draws and paints flesh, teeth, eyes and open sores with squiggly, dark line work that adds a bubbly, cartoon-like effect to whatever medium she’s working in at the moment. Since we last covered Ergen in Hi-Fructose Vol. 19 in 2011, some major changes have happened in the artist’s life. She gave birth in June 2013, and discussed with us how her newfound motherhood has impacted her work. “This little guy really affects my working speed to this day. It is really great feeling but hard as well,” she wrote in an email to Hi-Fructose. “With this huge change in my life, of course I made too many odd drawings with my new postpartum hormones!”

While parent-child relations have long been at the core of Ergen’s work (in her artist’s statement she discusses the narratives in her artwork about the effects of child abuse), now that she’s a mother, this thread has become more personal. Ergen’s new sketches, which combine digital and traditional media, juxtapose images of breast feeding and pregnancy with haunting creatures, mysterious, creeping hands and diabolical grins. They resemble a mother’s worst paranoia incarnate. “They are about motherhood, psycological instability, deep anxiety, morbid mother and child relations, longing, etc,” she added. Ergen is currently organizing a political exhibition with her initiative, “Kitschen,” in Ankara, Turkey as well as preparing for a solo show in Istanbul later this year.

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