Since 10/2020, permanent installation Circus of Life (IV), Karlsruhe
Begun in 2017/18, Meral Alma’s Circus of Life cycle encompasses a total four acts thus far and has garnered acclaim throughout Germany. The installation contains an entire world of images that only gradually reveals itself to the viewer. It finds Alma dealing with the (theatrical) play of life in multiple acts; each act embraces a different perspective, leading viewers to an unknown world that seems at once strange and familiar.
The current most recent painting in the cycle is Circus of Life 4th Act, a piece that has adorned two building portals on Bahnhofplatz Süd in Karlsruhe since October 2020.
The painting was originally conceived for a large exhibition space, where it completely dominated one wall. This gives the viewer the impression of being part of the action in the painting, as the work completely fills his or her field of vision.
And yet the work is also more than just a colorful, painted backdrop in a classical medium, rendered with acrylic and oil paints; Alma also works with multiple picture planes that react to different light frequencies. The result is an extremely striking, more three-dimensional image when viewed in darkness, for example—and a highly impactful experience for the viewer. The extreme luminosity of the colors highlights individual areas and lends them something of a sculptural quality, while other figures that seemed so vibrant in the light recede into the background and merge with the black picture surface—a surface that appears to dissolve in its own materiality. At the same time, the image loses its containment through the contours of the canvas and appears to fuse with the space traditionally occupied by the viewer.
A comparable viewer experience is achieved in Karlsruhe, where the paintings are installed in such a way that they appear to be floating.