Salt's new exhibition, The Land of the Three Inland Seas, is the most comprehensive exhibition ever organized by Handan Börüteçene, who has been producing with a determined focus on archaeology, history and nature for more than forty years. Its name points to a geography where the artist was inspired by its cultural heritage and myths as well as its stone, soil and blues: Anatolia and Thrace.

"Land of the Three Inner Seas" in Salt Beyoğlu, located on Istiklal Street, traces an art practice that defies memory loss, allowing to fully explore Börüteçene's passions, the themes he deals with, the issues he persistently pursues, and the new expansions in his production. The exhibition, which also draws attention to the neglectful attitude towards cultural heritage and works of art in Turkey, can be visited free of charge at Salt Beyoğlu until April 14.

The exhibition, which is a must-see for art, archaeology, history, cultural heritage and mythology enthusiasts, includes the artist's early works for his graduation project, his award-winning installation Break/See (1985), and the terracotta series he showed at the Urart Art Gallery in 1987, which are open to the public in Istanbul. It brings many works to the agenda with its large-scale sculptures placed in its spaces.

He was introduced to archeology in his childhood.
Born in Istanbul, Handan Börüteçene was fascinated by the comprehensive history and multi-layered visuality of the city where she was born and raised at an early age. During his childhood years, when his curiosity and excitement about the past became evident, the archeology books he found in his father's library and the family visits to the Istanbul Archaeological Museums left permanent traces on his expanding imagination. His mother, Hesna Hanım, is an embroidery master; Colorful crystal beads, sequins and pearls scattered around while he works reinforce the artist's relationship with color and form.

Börüteçene, who started studying ceramics at the Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts, participated in archaeological field studies with the desire to get out of the "four walls" and learn from the history of the land. His first excavation experience in the Arykanda Ancient City coincided with the last semester of his academy education. Graduating in 1981, the artist settled in Paris and worked in the sculpture workshops of Georges Jeanclos and César (Baldaccini) at l'École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts for two years (1982-1984). He opens his first personal exhibition in Paris, while continuing to participate in important exhibitions held in Istanbul.

For Börüteçene, the concept of "memory of the earth" also includes his personal history. As the universe of knowledge expands, his acquaintances from past ages also increase: such as Sumerian Ludingirra, Hittite Teshup, Sappho of Lesbos and Moiro of Byzantium. His conversations with these friends accumulate in his notebooks, which he carries from his studio in Paris to Venetian cafes and Mediterranean beaches. After these notes, sometimes in the form of quotes, drawings, doodles, and sometimes poems, are filtered, the "birth writings" of works such as The Book of the Sphere in Love with the Sea (1990) and Myself Buried (1999-ongoing) emerge. Birth inscriptions, which until now have only been printed in catalogs, accompany the works in the exhibition and make visible a profound artistic way of thinking.

A nomad in the triangle of Istanbul, Paris and Kaş
The artist continued to be a nomad in the triangle of Istanbul, Paris and Kaş for years. Over time, these displacements create a physical, if not intellectual, distance between them and their work. A group of works that entered collections years ago or were given as gifts to friends are lost, cannot be traced, or are destroyed for various reasons; The sculptures in Istanbul's open spaces move away from their purpose or are abandoned to their fate as the uses of the spaces vary. The exhibition, which emphasizes unrecorded, overlooked and lost works, also draws attention to the neglectful attitude towards cultural heritage and works of art in Turkey.

The Land of the Three Inland Seas, programmed by Salt's Amira Akbıyıkoğlu, can be seen free of charge at Salt Beyoğlu between 7 November 2023 - 14 April 2024.