Time Machine


Versus Art Project, ISTANBUL

03.06 - 10.07.2021

Versus Art Project is hosting SABO's new exhibition "Time Machine" between June 3 - July 10. Based on the fiction of past, present, and future, the exhibition opens the doors of a journey through time with the help of the artist's figures.

We live in days when the concept of time loses its meaning for many of us and becomes blurry. We struggle to be/stay in the "moment" just enough to complain that we cannot catch the time or that time does not pass in any way. SABO approaches it from this point of view and goes out of the "moment", looks at the concept of time from a holistic perspective, and combines it on a single plane by establishing connections between tenses.


The fantastic and fictional world of the artist that we are used to, greets us in his second solo exhibition "Time Machine" at the Versus Art Project. SABO's sketchbooks and drawings are the starting point of the exhibition. Within the scope of the exhibition, the imagination of the artist, who creates a fictional cycle by using pieces from his own life with the aura of time and space, reminds us of the irony of time.

SABO's artist book, oil, and watercolor paintings, ceramics, videos, and maps are included in the exhibition. Notes and texts from the history of humanity are some of the elements that we frequently encounter in SABO's work. History, past wars, success, and failure are among the other themes SABO takes into account and produces around.

The artist's book “Time Machine”, which is composed of 6 editions of the artist's sketches, each prepared by hand and named the exhibition, constitutes the starting point of his works and symbolizes the past-present-future triangle that draws the trajectory of the exhibition. The sketches in the artist's book "Time Machine", which form the backbone of the series, are also the reference points of the works in the selection.


In the selection of works, the figures lifting fists (Be Back In 10 Min.), symbolizing victory and the desire to succeed, and tattooed figures (Don't Give Up The Ship) are works that point to the past in the time capsule. The ceramic work, which establishes a dialogue with tattooed figures, is also included in the exhibition as a discipline in which the artist is producing for the first time. In the last year when sneezing has evolved into different meanings and anxiety in all of us, SABO's series of people who sneeze (It Sucks To BeYou) almost mirrors the present.

Artist’s 10-piece watercolor series that is included in the exhibition depicts different parallel worlds. The names of the works in the series are formed by new name groups that symbolize these parallel worlds, originating from the combination of the names of stars deriving from Arabic and the names of bacteria of Latin origin. The series is accompanied by a video about the works.

While the walking figure in the exhibition appears as a depiction of evolution, the series "Boşuna Gitti" expresses the artist's critical approach to the course of the world, wars, climate crisis, and economic problems by establishing a dialogue with the future. The map study on the fabric, on the other hand, points to this whole time cycle.

Instant thoughts, fine lines between reality and fiction, subjective desires, the connections it establishes with the old-new series that greet each other have a great place in SABO's artistic attitude. He takes the traditional method he has learned off the canvas and goes beyond the penture that the eyes are accustomed to. Every piece you see is part of a whole, none of them are alone and they become the best examples of time travel. This journey is not just about going back and coming here. What you see is part of a painting that he will make in the future. As we can think of the variety of materials and methods in his fiction with reference to the "Common Hall" (2014) exhibition, as well as remembering the exhibition "Paracetamol" (2019), we can read the relationship of the artist's image world with time and the familiar story in the "Time Machine" he left for every looking eye.

(Quotation from the text written by Melis Bektaş for the exhibition)

Catalog Preview

Photo by: Kayhan Kaygusuz



Versus Art Project, ISTANBUL

10.01 - 23.02.2019

Versus Art Project, is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of artist SABO, titled Paracetamol between 10.01 – 23.02.2019.

Taking its name from one of the artist's early childhood experiences, the exhibition takes a look into the role time plays in the transformation of image in one's memory.


Starting off with the images traced in his mind from early childhood memories, the artist combines his experiences with these images in his subconscious. Various compositions appear as a result, each open to the spectator’s own interpretation. SABO opens the doors to a new world where he applies graphic elements through painterly language, with a humorous tone.


The oil compositions in the exhibition, which allude to reality, but carry fictional elements, seem to be much like the very unsettling feeling one feels the moment when he wakes up from a strange dream. SABO’s paintings carry fantastical, fictional, story-like traits.


Although figures play a prominent role in the work of the artist, the space and its surrounding elements contribute to the narrative as much as the figures do.


The work of SABO is fantastical and fictional; the audience is first invited into the storyline by the figures, and throughout the journey, the spectator follows a path complemented by detailed spaces and objects. This journey is anything but single dimensional as it feeds off of the spectator’s own imagination, and creates alternative storylines accordingly. Thus, the initial narrative created by the artist becomes richer in time.

Art, although seen as a form of expression of creativity with a bit of aesthetic concern, is also one of the tools one uses to solidify and visualize the images and experiences embedded in one’s memory from early childhood. Humans have a tendency to remember traumatic events in their past different than how they actually occurred. Whether it be a natural hazard, an illness, a loss, or some of the happiest moments they have experienced, all memories are masked with a thin veil up to a point, and all the emotions felt at an extremity are then neutralized. Reality and experience becomes intertwined, and hybrid images are born.


SABO presents the spectator with a new universe with these hybrid images. Everything the artist has experienced, specific pages from books he has read, scenes from movies that have been traced into his subconscious, are all instances where the spectator may find a piece of themselves as well. All of the compositions in the exhibition, which allude to reality, but carry fictional elements, seem to be the much like the very unsettling feeling one feels the moment when he wakes up from a strange dream. This dream, under the effects of Paracetamol, always comes to a close, with unexpected turns.


İdil Deniz Türkmen


Photo by: Kayhan Kaygusuz

Positive Space


American Hospital Operation Room Art Gallery, ISTANBUL

01.12.2018 - 02.02.2019


AIDS broke out in the 1980’s, and soon became a deadly, global epidemic. It led to an increase in conservative voices and to the marginalization of the disease when the common ways of contamination were considered.

Since the end of the 80’s, activists and artists have collaborated in order to protest the Reagan administration, which kept quiet about the epidemic in North America, and mourn their friends who died of it. The contagious disease that was supposed to divide the masses brought them together. Today AIDS art has come to be used to express a whole artistic period and its practices that try to be democratic. AIDS individualized and politicized the art scene, which had been fraught with theories. The object of art was transformed into a body that was shared and distributed and got transformed into an ideological virus out of an art gallery.

Since Mürteza Elgin, the first sensational AIDS case in the Turkish media , HIV/AIDS has always been known for scandals, regardless of high rise of infection rate in the country, HIV remains as a taboo and a stigma in the public opinion. “Positive Space” interests in attributing a collective face to the virus and doesn’t care about protecting the ‘sterile’ other. The title is derived from a term used for the focal point of visual art compositions. It asks the spectator to get involved and is opposed to presenting a negative space to them. It mixes works of art, brings the background to the fore, and subjectifies everything visible. Just as Albert Camus said, “But what does it mean, the plague? It's life, that's all.” And so, “no one, no one on earth is free from it.”

“Positive Space” also opens discussions about themes, directly related to HIV/AIDS, such as visibility and stigma, victimhood and guilt, pleasure and disease as well as subjective bodies recording, separating, accepting and rejecting, infecting and spreading in opposition to ideological and medical bodies. Even though the exhibition affirms ‘positivity,’ it reserves the right to see AIDS as a metaphor. The unrepressed HIV does not destroy the cell, it attacks and emaciates it, just like masculine domination or bio-power practices do. “Positive Space” looks for new contamination technologies against these practices.

The exhibition, curated by Alper Turan, brings together the works of artists that use different media like video, oil painting, collage, sculpture, installation, and photography, and aims to decipher HIV/AIDS, which is an ‘epidemic of meanings.’

The exhibition may be visited between December 1, 2018 and February 2, 2019 in American Hospital Art Gallery “Operation Room.”

Participating Artists: Ardıl Yalınkılıç, Artık İşler, Can Küçük, Ceren Saner, Furkan Öztekin, Elmgreen&Dragset, Güneş Terkol, İz Öztat, Leyla Gediz, Nihat Karataşlı, Onur Karaoğlu, Özgür Erkök Moroder, Pınar Marul, SABO, Sadık Arı, Serdar Soydan, and Ünal Bostancı.

Graphic Design:
Umut Altıntaş
Exhibition Design: Doruk Çiftçi

oil on paper // 70x50 cm // 2018

Red Bull Art Around, Arnavutköy / Ghosts, ISTANBUL

4 - 20 May 2018


In it's third year Red Bul Art Around takes place in Arnavutköy between 4 - 20 May, 2018. Curated by Collective Çukurcuma (Mine Kaplangı, Naz Cuguoğlu, Serhat Cacekli) Red Bull Art Around Arnavutköy brings the works of 14 artists together around the theme of “Ghosts" departing from the Derridean concept of “hauntology". The exhibition connects a never-ending nostalgia feeling towards the past with an unrealized imaginary of future. With reference to those dreams which had once been dreamt of and later got detached in some way from our collective memory, the exhibition raises the question: “How many different ghosts do we hold inside?”

With the works of Canavar, Can Büyükberber, Bahar Yürükoğlu, Pınar Yoldaş, Ali Emir Tapan, Ilgın Seymen, Uğur Engin Deniz, SABO, Begüm Yamanlar, Guido Casaretto, Eda Aslan, Pınar Marul and Ceylan Göksel the neighborhood of Arnavutköy is at the center of “Ghosts” and the exhibition moves on a trajectory following this neighborhood’s past, destruction, annihilation, rebirth and hidden parts. 

Together with Zeynep Kayar's photograph selected as a result of an open call which addressed the art students, 14 different works created for the specific spots of the neighborhood and in parallel with these works; conversation meetings with the artists and curators, night tours and “spooky” video screenings are organized as parts of the exhibition program this year.

May 10, Thursday
20.00-21.00 Conversation with the artists and curators: Bahar Yürükoğlu, SABO, Eda Aslan, Pınar Marul, Ilgın Seymen & Collective Çukurcuma (Naz Cuguoğlu, Mine Kaplangı, Serhat Cacekli)
21.00-22.00 Night Exhibition Tour with the Curators

May, 12 Saturday
20.00 – 21.00 Performance: ‘This is the end, beautiful friend’, biriken

May, 13 Sunday
20.00 – 21.00 Performance: ‘This is the end, beautiful friend’, biriken

May 17, Thursday
20.00-21.00 “Spooky” video screening (TBA)
21.00-22.00 Night Exhibition Tour with the Curators

May 20, Sunday
14.00-15.00 Exhibition Tour with the Curators


Photo by: Nazlı Erdemirel

Signs of Time 



13 May - 10 June 2017


Artists: Sena, SABO, Huo Rf, Ecem Yuksel, Burak Ata


Signs of Time presents an installation made of handmade paper for the exhibition BAHAR ( The Istanbul Off-site Project For Sharjah Biennial 13 ). The collective production and collaboration of the artists transforms into a collage made of paper. The conversations of the group of artists who got together regularly for two months turns into a surface. Used papers, newspapers, magazines, grain, seed, clay, pulse, water, glue, vegetables, plants, leaves, interventions on already produced papers and writings become a new production as the artists' materials.


- Kagit means paper in Turkish and the title of the work has been inspired by its pronunciation in different dialects.


Paper is a multi-purpose material, which can be used in many areas. It is most commonly used as a writing and a printing tool, but it is also used in industrial and construction sectors, as a cleaning and packaging material and as a food additive in some of the Asian cultures.
Since paper is mostly used as a printing tool, it is also referred as a document. Besides, those materials used in stock market, such as bills or stocks can also be named as paper. It is also common to