The majority of Ayşe Erkmen’s projects are closely tied to the space, situation, and time they occupy. The place and environmental context in which she works always becomes part of the work; they begin to belong one another, as though something borrowed from that place (a measure, a form, a motif, a story, a possibility...) has been restored to the place from which it was taken. In her projects, Ayşe Erkmen incorporates unexpected directions and intervals, architectural and environmental scales, and distances and proximities, into the experience of the artwork. “On the House” (Am Haus) is one of Erkmen’s works that is closely tied to the places where it is exhibited and as a consequence cannot be identically repeated anywhere else.
Initially conceived for the façade of a building in Kreuzberg, Berlin in 1994, where it remains today, the work was also displayed on the façade of Arter’s atrium for the “What Time Is It?” (2019) exhibition. “Am Haus”, which Erkmen made with suffixes that are completely useless when left on their own and need to be combined with a verb in order to gain functionality and to express meaning, harbours countless expressions regarding the past, the present, and the future, all without telling a clear story. Rather than asking here what might have happened, what might be happening, what might happen (ne ol-muş, ne oluyor-muş, ne olacak-mış), the work triggers us to think instead about the context it occupies. In the book of the same title that accompanied the artist’s solo exhibition “Whitish” (2019), curated by Emre Baykal at Arter, Erkmen talks about the work: “ “Am Haus” is one of my more functional works (...) For the German residents of the neighbourhood, they present a new aesthetic by means of their different alphabetical characters, with their dots and tails. At the same time, they also present the Germans with a tense, a mode of time that they haven't experienced before, that isn't in their language and thus isn't in their culture, that they might not ever be able to grasp. For the Turkish immigrants living there, on the other hand, it expresses a language that they can understand and speak, transforming into sentences that only they can complete.”
"What Time Is It?", exhibition view, Arter, 2019.