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Perasma’s first exhibition, held between 2 February - 4 March in Art On Pera, titled “From off my Countenance These Glassy Tears”, proposes a reappraisal of the predicaments of our day with inspiration from ancient Greek tragedies. It opens to discussion the ethical problems we live in today and specifically concepts of action, destiny, coincidence and responsibility through tragedies, which have a prominent place in the history of thought. Featuring works by FRANCIS ALŸS, SİLVA BINGAZ, FULYA ÇETİN, EVRİM KAVCAR, MALVINA PANAGIOTIDI, STEFANIA STROUZA, KOSTIS VELONIS, EVGENIA VERELI and CANSU YILDIRAN, the exhibition attempts to read between the lines of agent and action through a variety of dualities, choosing to ask questions in- stead of offering suggestions, on the human and the nonhuman, culture and nature, the knowable and the unknown.

Greek tragedies emerged in the 6th century BC and were influential for a short period of about a hundred years. Even though they were set up in very different social realities, each story possesses depths that have enabled the universal problems they dealt with to be discussed anew in different ways throughout the history of thought.

From off my Countenance These Glassy Tears rethinks in today’s reality the dilemma in which the tragic hero finds himself in, the fate he weaves with his own hands as he tries to escape, the tragic end that he fails to change despite his efforts, and most importantly, the inescapable and unfathomable certainty of the reasons that have led to this end. The exhibition intends to open to discussion: tragedies, alienation, justice, the possibilities and limits of human-made laws, civilization and speech.

The exhibition is named after Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, a masterpiece of literary history. In his imaginary journey to Hell after Heaven and Limbo, Alighieri sees sinners frozen in ice. One of those lying motionless in the frozen lake tells Dante that he cannot even cry out the torment of his soul, describing the tears that freeze in his eyes and turn to glass at every attempt and asking Dante for help:

“And, that thou mayest more willingly remove

From off my countenance these glassy tears,

Know that as soon as any soul betrays.

As I have done, his body by a demon.

Is taken from him, who thereafter rules it,

Until his time has wholly been revolved.

Itself down rushes into such a cistern;

And still perchance above appears the body

Of yonder shade, that winters here behind me.”

Of yonder shade, that winters here behind me.”

Perasma wishes to thank Jotun for their valuable contributions.