Jacob Kassay: Playing With Perception

Jacob Kassay: Playing With Perception

February 14, 2013

Protocinema describes itself as a ‘transnational experiment making nomadic exhibitions.’ Alternating between Istanbul and New York it seeks to forge a link between these two important creative hubs of the contemporary art world. The work of notable American artists are displayed in Istanbul and vice versa, introducing new talents to art lovers across the world. 


The latest exhibition presents the work of Jacob Kassay. Known throughout the world for his much-sought-after ‘silver’ works. To create these, he treats silver painted canvases like photographs; first priming them then plunging them into a chemical bath which dries the silver paint to a crisp, before burning them along the edges. At the end of this ordeal, what is left are striking works which act like a lens, reflecting the viewer in an almost translucent manner, the texture of the paint and the canvas blurring the image.


This take on perception and illusion is a theme visible through Kassay’s work, including his debut film, Untitled, 2011. A 16mm EIKA projector sits boldly in the center of the room whirring away loudly. It projects the 27 minute film of a helicopter in a desert as it lifts off the ground and hangs in the air. The illusion is created as its blades synchronize with the frame rate of the recording camera (24 frames per second). The result is the appearance of the helicopter just hanging in the air, its blades barely moving. In an age where we’re accustomed to seeing digital manipulation and computer generated images, it’s both refreshing and somehow more magical to see an analogue illusion.


His third set of works on display are a number of hand-cut glass wedges, set inside books borrowed from the local library. The wedges sit flush inside the books, again acting as a lens, through which one can view the text in a fresh light. They give a certain depth to the pages, and  looking through them feels like peering into a frozen pool of words. This is a comment on the way we view information and the fact that they are library books reflects the temporal nature of the exhibition.


Protocinema was established in 2011 by Mari Spirito, former director of 303 Gallery in New York, who describes it as ‘a shooting star that you have to catch while you can’. After visiting the Jacob Kassay exhibition we are inclined to agree. The exhibition ends on Saturday February 16, so visit it quick while you have the chance. Protocinema; İnönü Caddesi No. 9A (Below Collectorspace) Taksim; P: 0541 468 02 14