Contemporary Istanbul 2017
14.09.2017 / 17.09.2017
Art On Istanbul is proud to announce that it will be taking part in the 12th edition of Contemporary Istanbul, September 14th to 17th 2017. The exhibition that will be held by Art On İstanbul as part of this event will feature works by the represented artists; Hüseyin Aksoylu, Olcay Kuş, Onur Mansız, Erman Özbaşaran, Nilhan Sesalan, Evren Sungur, Mithat Şen, Olgu Ülkenciler and Sencer Vardarman. The exhibition will also feature sculptures by Canan Dağdelen and Burcu Erden, whose works were previously exhibited at Art On Istanbul.
The exhibition will feature a bronze sculpture by Nilhan Sesalan, which was previously on view for the exhibition “Midnight in Istanbul,” comprising the sculptor’s latest works. “Midnight in Istanbul” took its title from the image of darkness on which Sesalan dwells in her works, and the city where her “existence began.” In her sculptures, where she establishes a solid relationship between idea and matter, Sesalan uses stone, bronze, and wood, as well as different composites that she puts together.
Evren Sungur, who takes place as the only Turkish artist in the book entitled “100 Painters of Tomorrow”, published by Thames and Hudson, engages in his works with people who try to keep pace with the changing world, and who, to this end, look for a new identity, personality, and character. In his new series entitled “Hunter,” where he explores human nature, evolution, existence, and civilization, Sungur depicts his figures rather lightly in terms of color and form in a way that is reminiscent of animation, i.e. in sharp contrast to the harsh natural conditions in which these figures find themselves. This choice of style can well be interpreted as a sign of the artist’s hope for the future.
Ahmet Çerkez, who is currently preparing for his upcoming solo exhibition in 2018, focuses in his works primarily on the extensive space that human beings inhabit in time due to their greed and self-centredness, despite their relatively short existence in time, and on the pain and tragedy that this paradox engenders. The artist expresses the spiritual pain that human beings suffer in a simplistic manner using a limited color palette, a raw canvas, and a poetic and sorrowful style. While rendering on his canvas the traces of time from the perspective of the life-death dichotomy, he transforms the traces of the process using the technique of transferring dry petals and circular rust stains onto the canvas.
Erman Özbaşaran, who had his first solo exhibition entitled “The Prospect of Hope” at Art on Istanbul last season, is known for his mixed media works on canvas that investigate the issues of urbanization and the consequent urban aesthetics, and for his landscapes composed of thousands of rolling paper which are drawn one by one with ink and pasted on canvas. As a whole, these works, marked by an infinite desire to construct and destroy, i.e. a desire to recreate the cycle that can be traced all the way back to the creation of human beings, and portraying the chaos and build-up entailed by this very process, invite their spectators to explore the relationship between things and nature, history, culture.
In his new series of works entitled “I Know How You Feel,” Olcay Kuş focuses mainly on the supremacy of masculine gestures and body language. Through portraits snatched from their contexts, and left alone with their thick and bold contours, the artist explores the frustration that we feel deep within due to changes in our daily lives, and reveals how anger renders human portraits identical. Transparent and opaque watercolor textures within black contours stand for human beings’ ever-changing states of mind, which are always ready to adapt to new circumstances, and also for the imprisonment of the soul within these contours.
Burcu Erden’s wooden human figures center on loss of function / making devoid of function. In her triptych, through which she investigates the role of scale in the construction of the meaning of a sculpture, Erden gives her spectators a clue as to the sculptures’ positions against the situation that they face, this clue being the enclosed composition in which the figures are formed and the height of the figures, which is below eye level. The black lines left behind from the work process, and the texture on the surface of the material denote the malfunctioning mechanism, the loss of function, and breakdown.
Onur Mansız, whose solo exhibition will take place in December, concentrates on the body as a stable and consistent region inhabited by the subject, this region representing subjectivity and being home to the self-realization process. The images that Mansız reflects on the body, which place the latter in an ambiguous position where it is neither naked nor dressed, become kind of a secondary tissue, constructing in this manner a second layer of meaning to be interpreted from the perspective of the identity that the artist attempts to create. In his hyper-realistic oil paintings, Mansız establishes a personal relationship with the figures using his own body in the painting process as a creating-intervening body.
With his work entitled “The Hotel”, Erdal İnci offers an alternative to human beings’ limited perception of architectural artifices. With the video that he created using the photogrammetry technique, for which he brought together, based on the architectural plan of the building, approximately 10 000 photographs of the interior and the exterior of the Sofa Hotel shot from different angles, the artist offers views from the various angles of the building that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The artist states: “It doesn’t need to be perfect. In this way it looks more like a painting.”
Mithat Şen, on the other hand, is an artist who led his variations of form to another dimension and transformed the leather material in a way that allows for an infinite number of tones with “Istif,” his first solo exhibition after a long period, held in Art On Istanbul. In his work entitled “Yıldız Sistemine Dair” (On the Stellar System), each Byzantine purple piece making up the whole is in relationship not only with the other pieces surrounding it, but also with the empty space created by these pieces. Just like Seljuk art’s response to the chaotic order of nature through the abstraction of the star form, the above-described order created by the artist is multiplied with its background even though it seems to fit within the borders of the circle.
Canan Dağdelen, who engaged initially with traditional calligraphy due to its ornamental character, but soon moved on to the meanings of words as well as their cultural aspects, and began thinking and doing research on the historical and traditional development of calligraphy, decided at some point to turn the two-dimensional art of calligraphy into a three-dimensional art, and construct installations with it. In her works, the artist opts for simple, short, and yet essential words, and aspires to attain a personal language, taking her own handwriting as her departure point. Her work “hay” (the living) draws its spectators’ attention to the state of being alive not only through the meaning of the word, but also through the dynamic form of the work, i.e. the harmony between content and form. Also, the exhibition space and spectators are reflected on the shiny surface of the black steel, making them a part of “the living, the animate.”
Olgu Ülkenciler, another artist who will contribute to the exhibition, is the creator of a new series of works named “Russian Classics.” This series was inspired by books such as Oblomov (Goncharov), The Bronze Horseman (Pushkin), Fathers and Sons (Turgenev), Dead Souls (Gogol), Poor Folk (Dostoyevsky), What Men Live By (Tolstoy), A Hero of Our Time (Lermontov), My Universities (Gorky) and What Is to Be Done? (Chernyshevsky). Ülkenciler draws on Russian classics, which were canonized for being artistic and also political actions in a period that witnessed a major transition from “the dispensable man” to “the new man.” For the artist, these books are not only a source of inspiration but as tool to interpret her times. Looking at the 19th century from the 21st century, when the process of the disposal of human beings and intellectuals reached its peak, and adopting the motto “human beings again” while doing so, the artist pays respect to the October Revolution, whose 100th anniversary will be celebrated this year thanks to the courage of the common people coming up from the underground.
Hüseyin Aksoylu, on the other hand, investigates the impact of knowledge and experience on human beings, and how these two phenomena should be balanced with his large scale paintings on canvas that revolve around the notions of chaos, annihilation, extinction, and decay. While ordinary objects constitute the main themes of the stories rendered on canvas in Aksoylu’s works that reminiscent of digital illustrations, stories of resurrection and collapse, mechanization and the resultant routine, and movement that detaches itself from this routine come to the fore in the paintings as a whole. Aksoylu’s work that will be exhibited in this year’s event is a depiction of disconnected stories from a dark dream.
Art On Istanbul, which will take part in Contemporary Istanbul with a special selection of works, will later during the season be home to the solo exhibitions of Evren Sungur, Onur Mansız, Ahmet Çerkez, and Olgu Ülkenciler.