This flash fiction story was originally written for and published by The Story Seed. It is inspired by and dedicated to the teachings and meditations of Thich Nhat Hanh, a beloved Zen master, spiritual leader, activist and poet.
She closed her eyes and inhaled the sunset mist…
As she let her breath out slowly, a deep sense of nostalgia filled her.
It felt like she was in a long-lost 19th-century Romantic painting.
In the age of empowerment, models are on a mission to break the stereotypes and challenge the criteria by which their success is measured.
Oxford Dictionary’s definition of a model is “A person employed to display clothes by wearing them.” Which is, in the literal sense, true, of course – but clearly inadequate especially when one thinks about the successful, outspoken and inspiring models of our time, like Adwoa Aboah, Winnie Harlow, Ashley Graham, Hari Nef and Halima Aden. If there was a chance to edit that definition now and expand it, what could’ve been said?
A model is a person (i.e. a human, not a hanger) who has a unique character, soul, opinions and beliefs. A person who works hard to show that, that there’s much more to them. A person who works hard in the professional sense too, in not always so glamorous conditions which they have little control over, while more often than not facing gender and racial discrimination, verbal abuse and bullying, sexual assault and constant criticism about how to look, what to eat, who to become. A person who has scars and marks, insecurities and health issues like everyone else, but perhaps feels that people don’t want to hear about all that, they just want to see the body – the person who is employed to display clothes by wearing them.
How social media platforms are being used by young people for experiencing art is a current issue that most people can have an idea about or be familiar with, as it is being focused on and explored constantly. In this short story, I wanted to take a slightly different approach and reflect on the role of social media on experiencing art not from the point of view of a young individual or a millennial; but from the perspective and experience of a pre-social media generation. I hope you’ll enjoy.
How many art museums or galleries are there today, that don’t have an active Facebook or Twitter page? What about the number of institutions that continue to have inflexible rules when it comes to photography in their spaces? How many of us, especially as millennials, didn’t take a #MuseumSelfie to post on Instagram yet? Even if we don’t know the exact numbers, we can easily guess the answers to these questions. Social media is becoming or already became an indispensable element in the world of art; affecting both how the institutions represent themselves and reach people, and how we experience and perceive art and these institutions; which brings many more interesting questions to the table.
In my interview with Mine Kaplangı, an art curator, artist representative and editor based in Istanbul, I wanted to tackle this growing, intriguing relationship and the questions it raises further. Mine, who is currently working on curating the yearly program of BLOK art space, a well-known contemporary art space in Istanbul, gave many thought-provoking answers to my questions. I hope you’ll enjoy!
The Abstract Expressionism exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is probably on the list of every art critic or art enthusiast as a ‘must see’ exhibition since it opened on the 24th of September. I guess it is the collective energy this exhibition holds one of the main reasons for its popularity – it is the first major Abstract Expressionism exhibit in the UK since 1959 that gathers more than 150 works, by both the most famous and lesser-known artists of the movement in one space.
As a final-year university student perplexed by the amount of assignments I have, unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to visit this exhibition in the first few weeks of its opening. But since I really wanted to see it, last Saturday I forced myself to put that stress and cup of coffee aside and yay, I was finally there!
The huge, geometric sculptures of David Smith greeted me when I entered to the RA courtyard, which was already impressive enough even without any work of art. What affected me most about these sculptures were the strong connotations they made to me, of critical yet usually unpleasant concepts such as oppression, insurgence and death– perhaps due to their highly mechanical structure, their large scale or another element that I couldn’t point out for sure – but the profound and even overwhelming effect started to reveal itself at that point, as if hinting what was awaiting me inside.
Curious and excited, I started discovering what the galleries inside had to offer. Some featured the works of different artists who had a similar approach or common traits in their works together, such as the ‘Darkness Visible’ gallery in which the works by painters like Robert Motherwell and Philip Guston, which all had unique styles and themes they explored yet carried a gloomier, heavier air that unified them, were displayed together.
British photographer Rich McCor, aka Paperboyo, reshapes most well-known landmarks all around the world – just by using paper cutouts & a camera!
When I discovered his work through his Instagram account, I was really inspired by how McCor remodelled the most iconic places in a minimalist and innovative way. He reflects his imagination through paper cutouts that are just “at the right place at the right time” – making it possible to capture amazing photographs. He is able to provide a completely new perspective with a “less is more” philosophy.
As I mentioned he takes photographs combined with paper art all around the world in different cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Lisbon and so on, however his work is based in London.