Under Custody was realized in 1995, covering a specific issue that was occupying the public at that time. The number of unsolved assassinations, people going missing and dying in custody were rising dramatically while legal authorities failed to take initiative and responded offhandedly to public outcry. Even though the practice of confiscating objects such as belts and shoelaces when being taken into custody was applied, people were being found dead in custody. Many people were disappearing without a trace. People taken into custody had begun to shout out their names as they were taken into cars due to the risk of going missing in the process.
In the 1995 exhibition titled “Borders and Beyond” Esra Ersen was making direct reference to these incidents. The execution ropes made out of shoelaces were installed at neckline on the walls of the long and narrow hallway designed by the artist from one end to the other. Stickers with names of people who had been the victim of these cases obtained from the Human Rights Association were pinned to the nooses.
Her initial objective to introduce psychological elements gradually gave way to an application of political and sociological thematisations. Partly conditioned by the rising tension in the country and partly fed by her intensive readings on post-structuralist theory Ersen produced a series of works relating symbolically or metaphorically to issues as political repression, violence. Under Custody, presented a series of shoelaces tied in the shape of execution ropes.
This simplistic composition referred to the highly doubtful death cases in the police stations and offers the assumption: As the ones who are taken under custody are forced to hand in their shot-laces in order to prevent any incidences of suicide, the illegal executions are performed by the ones who take the laces.