Contemporary-figurative artists provide originality in Istanbul
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 7/25/2010 12:00:00 AM | MANFRED SCHMID
Istanbul's Evin Art Gallery is hosting a summer group exhibition in Bebek with an exhibition presenting a wide variety of works by 12 artists. Although the gallery also pays special respect to famous Turkish painter Nuri İyem, a number of works run the gamut from creating a new visual alphabet to questioning globalization
The Evin Art Gallery has a new and exciting collection of paintings on display for its summer group exhibition, featuring 12 artists in Istanbul’s historical Bebek neighborhood.
According to Kerem Malikler, general manager of the gallery, a good painting technique is not enough to be successful: The artist must create something new.
“That is the reason why we collaborate with painters that work originally in their own way,” said Malikler, adding that the purpose of the annual summer group exhibition was to present the highlights and the wide variety of the artists on show.
The Evin Art Gallery has a special respect for famous Turkish painter Nuri İyem. Since it was founded in 1996 by Evin İyem, the gallery has hosted Nuri İyem’s exhibitions and launched a program designed to honor him in the wake of his death in 2005 and offer art enthusiasts access to his work.
The program features the “Nuri İyem Expositions,” which are held every two years on diverse themes, and the annual “Nuri İyem Painting Award Exhibition,” which recently finished its 2010 competition. Participants this year sent more than 250 works, which were evaluated by a group of nine experts. One of Emre Tan’s works was chosen as the winning painting, while the best 26 canvases will be exhibited at the gallery.
Another major focus of the gallery includes the work of Neşe Erdok. The paintings of the female artist are known for emotion-packed moments where figures seem to gaze at the viewer. Color is an interesting aspect of her work.
She once said in an interview that the figures come first and that color was just an accessory to form.
“I use color more to convey the psychological states of the figures. The colors can be toned down, even silenced, depending on the thing you are portraying – just like black-and-white films that can also be shot in color,” she said. “There are still black and white photographs today, and they are extremely moving.”
Another characteristic of her work is that the figures always have big hands and feet. “This has to do with distorting form for the sake of expression,” she said. “Hands and feet are as important as faces. They are among the body parts from which you can get the best idea of anatomy. They are expressive and unique to the individual.”
This years’ exhibition has much more to offer. Following a renovation, the venue was redesigned in 2002 into a custom-built art gallery while preserving all of its historic features intact.
The premises consist of two floors of exhibition halls and separate floors housing the gallery’s collections, archives and offices. In the archive section, which is on the top floor, Turkish artist Rahmi Aksungur exhibits his wood and bronze sculptures. In Aksungur’s art, myths born of the subconscious and the present – daily objects and live beings – create a new visual alphabet. He presents hybrid images in which the material and design fuse into one another, like “The Owl” from 2007. One can recognize the shape of an owl on top of a bronze sculpture, but it is distilled down to a square pattern.
“We are a contemporary-figurative gallery,” Malikler said. This can be especially seen on the first floor, for example when one looks at Temür Köran’s untitled works, which show the daily possibilities of objects, such as a garbage container, he said, adding that Hakan Gürsoytrak’s work follows a similar direction.
There is hard work going on in his paintings – the driving of trucks, the filling of tanks, the repairing of machines or automobiles. But these paintings look like ordinary street scenery only at first glance and are disturbing in the most comfortable way imaginable. In an age of ideologies, Gürsoytrak reminds us of a truth more discomforting than at first glance: socialism is not trendy now, but globalism also requires solutions, according to Malikler.
Other exhibiting artists include Nasip İyem, Naile Akıncı, Nedret Sekban, İrfan Okan, Emin Turan, Hakan Cingöz and Setenay Alpsoy.
The Evin Sanat Galerisi on Büyük Bebek Deresi Sokak is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday except Sunday.