‘Ready-ReMade’: Turkish artist transforms trash into art
The usage of waste material becomes an essential element of not only the artist’s work and process but also leaves a positive impact on environment
Turkish visual artist Deniz Sağdıç makes stunning portraits out of textile waste, discarded zippers, buttons, shopping tags, discarded computer parts and plastic bags.
This year, Türkiye is preparing to mark its first International Day of Zero Waste, inspired by the project that was launched under the auspices of first lady Emine Erdoğan in 2017, to highlight the importance of eliminating waste in fighting the climate crisis in Türkiye. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution during its 77th session on Dec. 30, 2022, to proclaim March 30 as International Day of Zero Waste, to be observed annually. Türkiye, with 105 other countries, put forward the resolution.
Hence, marking this day, Daily Sabah decided to celebrate Sağdıç, who is well known for using waste materials in her art, reorganizing them in a certain order and forming incredible art.
Answering the question regarding her motivation behind this art, Sağdıç said: “My father was a glass master, while my uncle was a designer in a glass manufacturing company and my aunts were tailors. I practiced making stained glass in my father’s glasshouse when I was only 10-11 years. Later, I started making bags from cuttings of fabric at my aunts’ workshop and earned my pocket money by selling them to those around me. A few years later, I became my father’s right hand for installing stained glass on buildings. I decided to lead my life with a job that requires creativity. I graduated from the faculty of the fine arts department.”
“I named my project ‘Ready-ReMade’ as I use waste materials from daily use objects,” she underlined. She started this project in reaction to conceptual art, an art for which the idea (or concept) behind the work is more important than the finished art itself.
“Conceptual art can be accepted as a technique, but it is inappropriate to think that the concept in art is only possible with the conceptual art technique. I was revising this approach by using waste materials with classical methods of art such as painting objects with oil paint, showing them as sculptures or reorganizing them in a certain order. By doing so, I suppose the aim is to express that the concept in art is not exclusive to this idea of what we know as conceptual art but rather, the concept in art existed long before we labeled it, that without concept, art cannot exist at all,” Sağdıç added.
“I was 13 when I was obsessed with a pair of jeans that were a bit too expensive for my budget. I remember collecting my neighbor’s old jeans and making bags out of them so I could sell them and buy the jeans that I was dreaming of. Eventually, I bought them. I was so in love with my new jeans that I wore them until they were completely torn apart. At the time, ripped jeans weren’t a thing yet in Türkiye but I remember trying to style them by adding some damage to them so that I could wear them longer,” she shared.
“Where and when denim was first invented is still under debate. However, I believe denim is not only a tool or a material for me it is a form of communication and the reason is the value of denim. If you are not a textile professional, you may not know the fabric; but anyone who sees denim recognizes it, at least once in her/his lifetime, she/he has touched it. Denim does not only belong to a certain culture or a country it is a global fabric and I use it as language,” she explained.
“I am an artist who takes sustainability as an important matter. I want people to stop for a while and think about consumption via my artwork. On the other hand, I aim to inspire people about what they can do about sustainability. Through my artwork, I try to spread a message of awareness: Look if I can make art with garbage, you can do the same,” she added.
Shedding light upon the future of this particular art, she said: “My art is being covered as a subject in many schools in Europe that certainly makes me glad to see a positive future being passed onto the next generation. My art has been included in thesis topics at universities in different parts of the world. I frequently receive messages from different age groups and different university departments.”
Istanbul Airport also collaborated with the artist for an eco-friendly exhibition called “‘0’ Zero Point.” Sağdıç sourced the materials from the airport’s waste management center, thus drawing attention to the fact of how much waste an airport, especially a big one like Istanbul Airport, produces every day. With a huge staff, with a capacity of serving 90 million passengers a year, it is the busiest airport in Europe and the 5th-busiest in the world.