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Defne Tesal (1985) lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey 


2017 - 2019                MA in Fine Arts, Master Institute of Visual Cultures, AKV St.Joost, Den Bosch, Netherlands

2004 - 2010                BA in Stage and Costume Design, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul, Turkey

2007 - 2008                Erasmus exchange at Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, Dept. of Scenography, Italy


Artist residencies

6.10.2019 - 1.12.2019        Kulttuuri Kauppila Art Center - Social Art Residency, Ii, Finland

1.10.2016 - 22.12.2016      Kulttuuri Kauppila Art Center Artist in Residency, Ii, Finland

1.6.2015 - 1.7.2015            SVA Summer Residency, Painting and Mixed Media - New York City, USA

Artist collective

2019 - ongoing  DREAM NEWS artist collective and publication initiative with Murat Yıldız

2016 - ongoing  HAH artist collective with Ahu Akgün, Gizem Karakaş, Ayça Telgeren, Murat Yıldız


Selected exhibitions

2023                “Böyle Rüyadaymış Gibi” / “Just Like in a Dream” duo exhibition with Ferruh Başağa, curated by Derya Yücel, Nazım Hikmet Kültür Evi, Nilüfer / Bursa, Turkey

2022                “Ben Kimse. Sen de mi Kimsesin?” / “I Am Nobody. Are You Nobody Too?” group exhibition curated by Selen Ansen, MEŞHER, Istanbul, Turkey

2022                “Koyun Koyuna” / “Rounded by Sleep” group exhibition curated by Eda Berkmen, ARTER Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

2022                Pilevneli Yalıkavak group exhibition, Yalıkavak, Bodrum, Turkey

2021                Tereddüt” / “Hesitation” solo exhibition, PILEVNELI Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey

2021                Pilevneli X König group exhibition, Kaplankaya, Bodrum, Turkey

2021                Atış Serbest - MECMU group exhibition, Barın Han, Istanbul, Turkey

2020                Mor Çatı Women's Shelter Foundation, Art solidarity online group exhibition, Turkey

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


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

Workshops given

2023.               “Tunnels of Sleep / Scale model making workshop’’ workshop for adults, Nazım Hikmet Kültür Evi, Nilüfer Munincipality, Bursa, Turkey

2022                “Tunnels of Sleep / Scale model making workshop’’ workshop for adults, ARTER Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

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



Selected performances and projects

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

2021                 “Supposition” / “Sanı” video performance, in collaboration with Ahu Akgün

2018                “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)



2021                “Dream News / Muğlak / Ambiguous” issue 4, Turkey. Published by Vision Art Platform. In collaboration with Murat Yıldız

2021                “Tereddüt / Hesitation” Artist book. Published by PILEVNELI

2021                “Dream News - Zincirler / Chains” issue 3, Turkey, self published. In collaboration with Murat Yıldız

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


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