Renin Bilginer is a multidisciplinary artist from London, with dual British and Turkish heritage. Renin graduated from the University of Brighton in 2019 and completed an MA in painting at the Royal College of Art in 2023. She has recently exhibited with Soho Revue, Otherlandz, Subtitle Labs x Omer Tiroche, Pictorum Gallery and Hypha Studios (London), and internationally with Prior Art Space (Barcelona), Galeri Bosfor (Istanbul) and Plain Gallery (Milan). In 2022 she was shortlisted for the StART Martin Miller’s Gin Emerging Art Prize at Saatchi Gallery and has recently completed a month-long residency at Art’otel Battersea (London). She is now embarking on a year-long residency project: Hinterlands with the Canal & River Trust.
Working closely with textiles, painting, installation and film, Renin’s practice is rooted in her experiences as a woman with mixed British and Turkish heritage. Creating multiple pieces in tandem, the work often resolves as a narrative driven series informed by a specific memory or reflection, relating to her mixed cultural heritage, social class and surroundings; sometimes personal and other times politically charged, the work draws from her experiences of womanhood, investigating the idea of non-conformity and the embodiment of multiple identities.
Informed by her research on 18th and 19th century pleasure gardens, the work champions colourful scenes of rebellion, hedonism and femininity within an imaginary utopian landscape. Images of nude, masked women dominate this world, reclaiming their bodies from a history of repression and judgement enforced by a patriarchal social structure. The mask exists as a vessel for transformation, allowing these women to manifest a state of becoming; repetitive motifs move in flux throughout the work, unifying the landscape with its inhabitants and symbolic objects to create a unique visual language.
Influenced by Eastern miniature painting, Japanese woodblock printing and Turkish textiles, the work encapsulates a rich cultural narrative, explored through the compositional and material qualities of the work. Resulting as tapestry-paintings, wearable pieces, sculptural installations and documentations of these works with moving image, the revival of craftsmanship within a fine-arts context drives Renin’s practice; the method of dyeing fabrics, mixing dye pastes and creating painted textiles has become integral to the work; stitching, embroidery, decorative beads and macrame pieces exist as references to a history of women’s domestic crafts, preserving these skills within a subversive contemporary context.
Through a continuing exploration of materials and modes of presentation, Renin investigates how painting can evolve and expand to create a more immersive experience of narrative. In her most recent project: The Original Sin, the concept of sin in relation to women’s history is explored through the creation and documentation of artefacts belonging to Renin’s imaginary world. Informed by a museum style method of display, the work is presented as a fantasy archive that celebrates womanhood, otherness and the masquerade of identity.