Defne Tesal was born on April 8, 1985 in Istanbul, Turkey. Tesal graduated from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University with a BA degree in Stage and Costume Design in 2010, and completed her MA degree at St. Joost School of Art & Design in the Netherlands in 2019. Additionally, she attended 'artist in residence' programs at the School of Visual Arts, New York and KulttuuriKauppila Art Center, Finland. Besides her individual practice, she is part of the community-based initiative Dream News and the HAH Collective.
Defne Tesal's production is based on the repetitive movements. Her drawings, embroideries, videos and site specific installations consist of the repetitive gestures of both herself and the materials she uses. Against the constantly forward moving pace of our time, Tesal bases her work on the circular, rhythmic, fluid, and static movements; and opens them up to the experience of the audience. At times, she works with yarn, paint or pencil and reduces landscapes to color fields or directions of movements; at other times by keeping her mind from making decisions, she makes drawings, videos or performances as a spontaneous reaction to what she perceives with her senses. She aims for her works to communicate with the audience, and especially in her installations she intends for an interactive relationship between the space, the artwork and the audience.
Tesal continues her work and life in Istanbul, Turkey.