With my practice I try to create moments of deep concentration and an intensified time experience. I work with different materials and techniques for their tactile aspects and meditative potentials. I make reductive and repetitive compositions of forms, shapes and gestures. The methods are usually labor-intensive, hand crafted and patience related. Drawing, installation, embroidery, video, performance and book are forms of working in which I try to open up a realm for contemplation and stillness.


Defne Tesal (1985) born in Istanbul, Turkey.

Currently living and working in Turkey and the Netherlands.


2019                MA in Fine Arts, Master Institute of Visual Cultures, AKV St.Joost, Den Bosch, Netherlands

2010                BA in Stage and Costume Design, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul, Turkey

2007                Erasmus exchange at Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, Dept. of Scenography, Italy

2004                Secondary School, Üsküdar American Academy, Istanbul, Turkey


Artist residencies

2019                Lahde, Artist in Community program, 2 months, Ii, Finland

2016                KulttuuriKauppila Art Center AIR program, 3 months, Ii, Finland

2015                SVA Summer Residency, 1 month, New York City, USA



2017                Holland Scholarship, Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, The Netherlands

2015                Moon and Starts Scholarship for SVA Summer Residency Program from American Turkish Society, New York City, USA

2007                Erasmus Scholarship for bachelor in scenography education in Academia di Belle Arti di Carrara, Italy



2016                Istanbul Rotary Art Competition Award, Jury: Ayşe Umur, Başak Şenova, Can Elgiz, Gülsün Karamustafa, Işın Önol, Özalp Birol and Şerif Kaynar

2012                Ifsak Short Film Festival, Best Animation Award

2010                Yıldız Short Film Festival, Digital Film Academy Award

Artist collective

2016-ongoing  HAH artist collective - founding member, Istanbul, Turkey

(current members: Ahu Akgün, Gizem Karakaş, Ayça Telgeren, Defne Tesal, Murat Yıldız)


Workshops given

2019                “1h 34’ 07’’ workshop for fine arts bachelor students of St. Joost Art Academy. In collaboration with Ying Liu and Murat Yıldız.

Master Institute of Visual Cultures, AKV St.Joost, Den Bosch, Netherlands

2018                "Absolute Rhythm, Indefinite Repetition" workshop for fine arts bachelor students of St. Joost Art Academy. In collaboration    with Nicola Kirkaldy. Master Institute of Visual Cultures, AKV St.Joost, Den Bosch, The Netherlands

2016                “Random Creation Project” workshop for high school students of Ii Upper Secondary School, International Art Course program. In collaboration with Murat Yıldız. Ii, Finland



2019                “Jong Talent” group exhibition, Den Bosch, Netherlands

2019                “Post Compost” graduation exhibition, Master Institute of Visual Cultures, AKV St.Joost, Den Bosch, Netherlands

2019                16. Istanbul Biennial, Public program – participation as HAH collective

2019                "Atış Serbest 5" group exhibition, Tophane-i Amire, Istanbul, Turkey

2018                "Moment of Trust" group exhibition. Project of Tenthaus Artist Collective (Oslo) Club Solo, Breda, The Netherlands

2018                "What Do We Dance For?", group exhibition at Gallery Nectar, Tbilisi, Georgia

2018                “There is another possibility: about open space and artist collectives” exhibition at Kasa Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey, participated as HAH collective

2018                “Sketch State” group exhibition at Gallery 5, Istanbul, Turkey

2017                “Maybe, we will benefit from our neighbour’s good fortune” exhibition curated by Işıl Eğrikavuk at Halka Art Project, Istanbul, Turkey, participated as HAH collective

2017                “Vesile” exhibition by HAH collective members together with guest artists Etem Sahin, Selim Birsel and Lara Ogel at HAHmekan, Istanbul, Turkey

2016                “Interval”, Gallery Zilberman, Solo exhibition at Project Space, Istanbul, Turkey

2016                “Keeping The Trace” Duo exhibition with Murat Yıldız, KulttuuriKauppila Art Center, Finland

2016                “Collective Memory (the past and future is ours)” group exhibition curated by Anna Bauer and Benjamin Lee Sperry, New York City, USA and Glasgow, Scotland

2016                Istanbul Rotary Art Competition – finalists group exhibition, curated by Başak Şenova at Elgiz Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

2015                “Cocoon”, Gallery-5, Solo exhibition, Istanbul, Turkey

2015                SVA Summer Residency Open Studio Exhibition, New York City, USA

2014                “Silent Flow”, Domaine de Forges, Solo exhibition, Forges les Eaux, France

2014                “Interception”, International Textile Artists Group Exhibition, Gallery 5, Istanbul, Turkey

2013                “Window Seat”, Gallery Artist Çukurcuma, Solo Exhibition, Istanbul, Turkey


Selected performances and projects

2019-ongoing  “Dream News” publication series, in collaboration with Murat Yıldız.

2018-ongoing   “Hah Hikaye” interactive online story writing project continuing on

2018                “Momentum” performance, in collaboration with Ying Liu. Master Institute of Visual Cultures, AKV St. Joost, Den Bosch, NL

2018                "Meeting" interactive installation/exhibition. Master Institute of Visual Cultures, AKV St. Joost, Den Bosch, The Netherlands

2018-9             “Admit One” series of collaborative projects with Alireza Abbasy, Elena Chemerska, Annemée Dik, Raffaella Huizinga, Donglai Meng, Simon Oosterhuis, Dorien Scheltens, Angela Vidić, Murat Yıldız.

2018                “Transition” video screening program / Eye Research Lab, Eye Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2018                "HAHcalendar" project, in collaboration with HAH members and artists Sena Başöz, Lara Ogel, Romina Meriç, Sevgi Aka, Uzay Kere, Beste Topuz, Onur Ceritoğlu. Published by Art Unlimited, Istanbul, Turkey

2017                “HAHasks” recording performance as part of MÇPS recording studio created by Can Altay and Saz Arkadaslari, produced by Amira Arzik at 5533, Istanbul, Turkey, participated as HAH

2017                “We Remember, after Joe Brainard and Georges Perec” performance by Gizem Karakaş together with HAH collective, at HAHmekan, Istanbul, Turkey

2017                Performer in “Transcending the Senses”, a performance by Dila Yumurtaci, participating in Self-service Art Performance Days and Mamut Art Project, Istanbul, Turkey

2011                “Hain Kurt” (Traitor Wolf), a short stop-motion animation film, 13’52’’, in collaboration with Murat Yıldız, Istanbul, Turkey. Screenings at Ifsak 32. Film Festival, National Short Film and Documentary Competition, Experimental Category, Finalist (2012), Akbank 8. Short Film Festival, Short Animation Category (2012), Malatya 2. International Film Festival, National Short Film Competition, Finalist (2011), International 48. Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, Special Screening (2011), Istanbul 7. Animation Festival, Short Film Competition, Finalist (2011)

2010                “Bir Masal” (A Tale), a short stop-motion animation film, 4’31’’, Istanbul, Turkey

                        Screenings at If İstanbul 10. International Independent Film Festival (2011), National 1.Smyrna Short Film Festival‏, Finalist  (2010), Yıldız 7. Short Film Festival, Animation Category, Finalist (2010), Flying Broom 13. International Film Festival, Wonderland Category (2010), Istanbul 6. Animation Festival, Competition (2010)


Recent relevant experiences

2017-2019       Organization of Rijksacademie Lecture Series, Club Solo, Breda, The Netherlands

2018                Assistance to artist Keiko Sato for her solo exhibition “SOLO 16 Keiko Sato” at Club Solo, Breda, The Netherlands



2020                “words 2016”, “words 2017”, “words 2018”, “words 2019”, artist book series, self-publication

2020                “Dream News / Hayal Gazetesı” issue 2, Turkey, self published. In collaboration with Murat Yıldız

2019                “Dream News / Unelma Uutiset” issue 1, Finland, published by Lähde! In collaboration with Murat Yıldız

2019                "Distractions turning into Landscapes", self-publication

2018                “Essay on time Flow”, “Words from 2016”, artist book, self-publication

2018                HAHcalendar, calendar publication of HAH collective, Art Unlimited publication

2017                HAH “Vesile” exhibition catalogue, HAH publication



2019                50 hours Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training with David Swenson, Arhanta Yoga Ashram, NL

2018                200 hours Hatha Yoga Teacher Training, Arhanta Yoga Ashram, The Netherlands

2017                Zen Meditation introduction course,, Den Bosch, The Netherlands