Betül Sefika

resident Bosacademie

Betül Sefika (1995) is een beeldend kunstenaar, grafisch ontwerper en schrijver die woont en werkt in Antwerpen. Haar poëzie en beeldend werk verscheen in DW B, Kluger Hans, Deus Ex Machina en rekto:verso, ze was deel van de oerversie van Vruchtbare Grond in 2020 en leefde zich uit als grafisch huisastroloog van TIM magazine.

Betül verblijft in maart en april in Het Bos en toont nieuw werk tijdens Vruchtbare Grond in mei.

We asked Betül some questions :

How do you manage a work-life balance as an artist?

I’m quoting my dear friend Elena here: “I am zhe Art anz zhe Art iz Me”
Work is art is life. Breathing is labour. Did I just meet a new person? I might make art out of that. Did I just stumble on a phallic shaped tomato? I might make art out of that. Every piece of junk can be sold again. Have a broad taste. Why? Because on the way to transcendence, I’m also tied to this physical body that is both a vessel and an imprisonment and it’s maintenance forces me to take part in a global exchange system that sets money on time and time on money, because this body alone is not big enough to sow and harvest and do a course on time management simultaneously on my Sisyphus curse to the top of the Maslow pyramid. I have to hustle with inmates. So every morning, yet again at the foot of the hill, I retract the necessary means of this bank account I perverted my body into and try again.
Sometimes I yell ‘woohoo’ when rolling down.
Sometimes I get distracted by people who figured out better things to do.

Tell us about your techniques for overcoming creative blocks.

It’s the difference between hyperfocus and trying to concentrate. Trying to concentrate makes me feel very claustrophobic. Hyperfocus happens when I don’t push anything at all. It is very narrow too, but it feels like you’re digging a hole. Suddenly a mole. With a digging addiction. Usually I struggle with competence instead of creativity. Only in periods of competence I feel like I fail at creativity, which of course ultimately takes it’s toll on creativity too as it would vice versa. I haven’t figured this one out completely. It feels like I’ve been failing at competence for over a year now. The things that are working out, are the things that have no recipient yet. In other words no one to disappoint. Maybe that’s the secret? A small note however, I think not even you yourself should be the one you’re doing it for. It’s the easiest to disappoint yourself. You should make things for the sake of the thing alone.

What does your work aim to say?

If you like vagueness, boy, do I have something for you:
I investigate ‘the presence of absence’.
What I mean by it:
There’s nothingness that you’re unaware of and nothingness that will eat you up —from tiny nibbling to straight up devouring you in the form of lack, missing, not being enough, being erased, etc. In other words it’s present. The flexibility of this subject might make this topic seem like a non-topic. Since it’s basically a yes-or-no question it becomes applicable to almost everything. Is it or isn’t it present? In a way, it’s a very binary investigation in materiality. Having stated that, allow me to highlight what’s probably more true to the research: I think all of it basically comes down to an investigation on language. On figuring out the fine lines that keep the absence, but do tell you, or at least hint that something is absent, without dragging the missing subject into presence completely. I guess it’s a matter of finding balance, exercises in how much information I can leave the reader/spectator for them an experience my work as something with integrity on one part, but also make the absence something to be experienced as well as described. And lastly for my work to leave space. For interpretations, for contributions, for errors.