In her works focusing on the effects of certain socio-psychological conditions on individuals, Yaşam Şaşmazer questions the good and bad in people, their bright and dark sides, the societal roles, and the clichés related to identity and cultural constructs. While she constructed these features of human nature through wooden sculptures of children in her early works, in time, her investigation has moved towards bodies of adults. These uncanny characters she produced with her material of choice, in this case, wood, refer to the eerie and dark sides of being a child/human. The dichotomies intrinsic to human nature, the inner darkness, the tendency to violence, and the processes of self-discovery, are merged with the concepts of shadow, doppelgänger and metanoia as expressions of fear and angst, creating both fictional and autobiographical characters. In her current works, she tackles the specific relationship between mankind and nature, focusing on its contradictions and malfunctions; and she observes, through her faceless and anonymous characters, themes such as invasion, decay, ruins, remembrance, and transience of memories. Şaşmazer lives and works in Istanbul.
Yaşam Şaşmazer (b. 1980, İstanbul) graduated from Sculpture Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and then completed her master degree at the same university. Her solo exhibitions include Dark Matter (Kunstverein Ingolstadt, Ingolstadt, Germany, 2017), Metanoia (Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles, USA, 2016; BERLINARTPROJECTS, Berlin, Germany, 2015; Tophane-i Amire Culture and Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey, 2014), Doppelgänger (Künstlerhaus Marktoberdorf, Germany, 2012), Illuminated Darkness (Aubin Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 2011). Selected group exhibitions she participated in are: The Child Within Me (Abdülmecid Efendi Köşkü, Istanbul, Turkey, 2019), The Clandestine Life of Objects (Evliyagil Dolapdere, Istanbul, Turkey, 2019), Sorrowful and Restless: A selection of the Papko Art Collection (Istanbul, Turkey), Home is Where The He(art) Is (Galerie Paris-Bejing, Paris, France, 2018), Pulsanti Aperietur (The Abdulmecid Mansion, Istanbul, Turkey, 2017), Replacement (Rampa Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey, 2016), Glasstrees Gotika: Collateral Event of the 56th Biennale Arte (Venice, Italy, 2015), Encounters: Contemporary art from Turkey in Korea (ARA Art Square, Seoul, South Korea, 2012), Confessions of Dangerous Minds (Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 2011).