Having a Yarn With Yeliz Yorulmaz

Walking into Yeliz Yorulmaz’s studio is impressive. It’s a large, open space, filled with her marvelous and unusual artworks. When Art Pharmacy came to visit her studio, Yeliz showed us around and spoke to us about her art. We discussed her current work at SCA under the tutelage of conceptual artist Mikala Dwyer, and she showed us examples of how her artistic practice is expanding in new and exciting ways.

Yeliz’s art primarily deals with fabric, and sewing is her main artistic method. The femininity of these materials is important to her. She enjoys the process, describing it as “a relaxing activity, like meditation.” She learnt from her grandmother, a tailor, who raised her and sewed things with her when she was young.

She rediscovered sewing as an artistic medium while studying Psychology and Fine Arts at university in Turkey. After a period of studying ceramics, she decided to once again try sewing. The first day that she started to sew again was such an immediate magical moment that she started to cry. Since then, sewing and fabric have been the foundation of her artistic practice.

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Her traditionally feminine materials are often paired with suggestive imagery. In her series ‘Domestic Mood’, for example, Pop Art-like magazine cutouts of domestic home environments are juxtaposed against embroidered images of sexually explicit activities. The series explores the contrast between seemingly pure domestic settings and the hidden activities that could go on in those spaces. In this sense her work is subtly political, often playing with tropes of feminist art in a humorous manner. She emphasizes that much of her practice “becomes political when you think about it”.

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Yeliz is currently completing a Masters of Fine Arts at SCA, under the invaluable tutelage of famous conceptual artist Mikaela Dwyer. This experience has been encouraging her to expand her practice, and toexperiment with materials and concepts. She notes that, “Before, I could never imagine making something that can’t be sold!” She’s referring to the largest artwork in her studio, an impressive work-in-progress consisting of several large, imaginary pillow-like creatures lying on the ground surrounded by bare branches in a stimulated forest. Projected onto the wall above this installation is a video of a cockroach on its back, filmed at Concord Hospital in Sydney. The movements of the cockroach blend eerily well with the creatures on the ground, bringing them to life. The scene is set to music composed by David Lynch, which served as inspiration while Yeliz worked on the piece.

This work is an example of the themes of mutation, alchemy and the esoteric that Yeliz is currently working with. She wants to juxtapose and connect the “two worlds – the real and figurative”. In the previously mentioned work-in-progress, she complicates this concept, combining the real, but imagined creatures on the ground with the less physical video on the wall, that nevertheless depicts a more realistic organism. This will eventually become more realized. It will be finished once she feels a familiar sense of relief, which signals to her that a work is completed. Until then, she will keep playing around with the work, just to see what will happen.

Yeliz has come a long way since she first started exhibiting with Art Pharmacy, but is still evolving. She’s not only experimenting with large conceptual art, but with clay, using sculptor David Altmejd as an inspiration next semester. She’s also working on developing a new sewing technique that will be able to employ the specific material qualities of thread, rather than just imititating drawing. She finds herself at an exciting point in her practice, in which her art and ideas are developing and progressing into a range of directions. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for her.

You can see more of Yeliz’s work on her profile page here.

Words: Ellen Oredsson