Nestled in the streets of Hoxton is the quaint Shipton Street Gallery, that for the month of February has had a timely exhibition called ‘Love Me, Love Me’ on display. Created by artist Belmin Pilevneli, it presents pieces that encapsulate the feelings and stories that come along with love. Her collection is inspired by the poems of Nazim Kikmet, in which he writes to his love, kept apart from her by his prison sentence.
Many of Pilevneli’s pieces are accompanied by original works of poetry, or with Kikmet’s moving words. Together the art and poems work to visually capture the abstract concept of how people experience love and all the emotion that comes with it. Her artwork is primarily created through embossing, the process of stamping an impression into paper so that it stands out in relief. By crafting her own plates and drawing shapes to create the impressions in the paper, she expands on the traditional technique to create her beautifully fluid semi-abstract forms.
Her work comes to life often exclusively from the elevated impressions in the paper, untarnished by any other medium. Initially this artistic choice can seem understated, easily missed at a quick glance, but it is the simplicity of naked embossing that so successfully gives the artwork its character. It expresses a sense of stillness and purity that is bubbling under the surface with raw emotion.
In her work, ‘When I Fall in Love’ and ‘Neon Multi-Love’ Pilevneli play with the idea of what it is to fall in love and, furthermore through her style, the very different experiences involved. They both stem from the deconstructed form of a flower, with the face of a woman hidden within its petals. However, ‘When I Fall in Love’ addresses the innocence of a first love and ‘Neon Multi Love’ explores the messiness that comes with having loved multiple people. ‘When I Fall in Love’ is done in naked embossing on white paper to emphasise the purity and vulnerability of a first love. ‘Neon Multi Love’ embosses the same sheet multiple times and uses coloured sections to show the complexity of love and that no two loves are the same.
Pilevneli’s exhibition consists of some very captivating pieces, and due to the dimensional nature of her style of work, a photograph is no replacement for the experience of seeing her work in person.