ilknur Demirkoparan, aka ironBreaker, aka the barbarian, is a Turkish-born American artist whose interdisciplinary practice spans painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and digital media. Her practice explores the intersections between political power and the narration of history by tracing her own identity in time and space. While her early work evokes the bizarre and often baffling narratives of identity and otherness, with her current work, she explores the tension between erasure and endurance through the abstract language of kilims which she translates into paintings. She has performed and exhibited her work at the Berlin Biennial Art Wiki Project (2012), Highways Performance Space and Gallery in Los Angeles (2013 & 2016), and FAR Bazaar (2017). She holds an MFA in Art from California Institute of the Arts and a BA in Art from University of California, Riverside. Her recent residencies include ChaNorth in Pine Plains, New York, and GlogauAIR in Berlin, Germany. She is the recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Max H. Gluck Foundation fellowship awards. Demirkoparan is also the co-founder of the MinEastry of Postcollapse Art and Culture, an artist-run project space and a think tank dedicated to rethinking our contemporary moment since the fall of the Berlin Wall. She currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon.
In my work, I strive to invent something for which I have no name yet; a perspective deeply influenced by my position as a Turkish-American immigrant belonging neither here nor there. There’s an uncertainty that animates my work precisely because those notions of identity, difference, and the false dichotomy of “east vs west” were never certain to begin with. Whereas my earlier work explores this space of otherness by evoking the bizarre and often baffling narratives of identity, my practice has since evolved to seek a connection with my heritage, which feels evermore distant and estranged. Drawing my inspiration from a single abstract motif on a kilim or the most intricately ornate architectural forms, I make paintings that engage in a solitary dialogue with the history of artistic and stylistic currents of Turkish material culture. I suppose if I were a Korean artist in postwar Korea, the name for what I do would be Dansaekhwa.