Mira Friedlaender’s residency at Recess, “Half of What’s There”, is an ambitious and performative project involving the artwork of her late mother, the Turkish artist Bilge Civelekoglu Friedlaender. After her artist mother’s death, Friedlaender was left to deal with a lifetime of her parent’s work, which she has kept in storage until now. Through this project, Friedlaender intends to unpack, document, and hang each of her mother’s pieces. This becomes a challenge in the small Recess gallery; the boxes and crates containing the artwork occupy the majority of the standing room in the space. The seven-week residency is a test of Mira Friedlaender’s endurance, as the excavation of her mother’s art, some of which she has never seen before, is both physically and emotionally strenuous.
While gallery hoppers are welcome to come and watch her work, the project is deeply personal and seems to operate in a semi-private way. It shifts to a less private performance when gallery attendees enter the space. Friedlander is unsure of what direction the project will take after the Recess residency, but “Half of What’s There” is on one hand a testament to a daughter’s love and respect for her mother, on the other an artist paying tribute to a fellow artist, and in total is a beautiful reminder of the material burdens we will all leave behind for others to deal with.