Discovering the world of art through surreal poetic words
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Pol uses collage, printing and painting techniques when creating his large-scaled mixed media pieces. Pol’s large canvases employ a striking array of styles, references and techniques while offering an aesthetic that is unique, complex and assured in its depth.
Nicolas Pol is more a poet than a visual artist. His paintings come to him through words. Currently in Turkey to attend the opening of his exhibition “Epekstasis” at the Istanbul ‘74 gallery, Pol tells how he is inspired by reading and writing poetry.
Nicolas Pol always uses words to create his works or to describe an exhibition, as he has done with Epektasis. For his debut exhibition in Istanbul, Pol explores the concept of “epektasis,” a philosophy of personal extension from the ancient theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, who lived in what is now Turkey. But with his usual impish irreverence, Pol’s paintings reveal a twist on the idea’s original religious meaning to incorporate the French derivation “épectase,” an orgasmic death. The result is an intense collection of paintings filled with sensory exploration, catapulting its subjects and onlookers into a participatory whirlwind of pleasure, introspection and suffering. Part religious icon painting, part brothel, Pol’s Epekstasis yields imagery of high-fashion demons, faux corporations, reductive physics and wanton whores. Pol puts forth sarcastic and sadistic observations on theology, iconography, and popular culture as he interweaves high and low culture into a bloodied frenzy.
But for Pol all of this is a coincidence. “Epektasis is just another word that I kept in my pocket,” he says. Pol likes to use words and do some writing before transforming his ideas into visual forms. “I am a poet; before painting I write stuff, I sort of have a list of names. These could be any name, title.” Pol uses these words to inspire him.
When asked who his favourite poet is, Pol says Arthur Rimbaud without any hesitation. “But there is also Lautréamont. Sometimes I prefer Lautréamont, and Verlaine is amazing too. I think Verlaine is very moving and touching.” The words of these poets inspire Pol in every part of his artistic creation. “Sometimes I just play around with things. I do not plan anything when I am creating something. This is a free process for me. I write more than I read. I write poetry, songs.” Pol sees his method of artistic creation as being like improvisational jazz music or rap. “They are samples of tunes,” he says. “And I take them and create my own stuff.” Pol hopes to see a kind of a self-portrait in his completed works.
Surrealist paintings and the words of Rimbaud
Pol’s paintings are surreal like Rimbaud’s poems. They seem to play with words, nature and dreams. Also like Rimbaud, Pol’s artwork has the power to carry the viewer to another time and place. Rimbaud was a true visionary, according to Pol. “I do not think I have that quality,” he says, adding that he sees himself as more mediocre. “If there is anything good, it mostly happens by accident.”
His large-scale, deeply layered paintings may first remind the viewer of the lines of a poem. “I would like viewers to think exactly what I think,” Pol says. “I would like them to connect with each detail and find the keys or directions in the paintings.”
Pol uses collage, printing and painting techniques when creating his large-scaled mixed media pieces. Pol’s large canvases employ a striking array of styles, references and techniques while offering an aesthetic that is unique, complex and assured in its depth. Combining street art, graphic design and a multitude of fine art references from Renaissance masters to Majerus and Basquiat, Pol’s craft is remarkably honed for a painter so young. The success of Pol’s work stems from the interplay between the immediacy of color and iconography with a structure and overall quality that demand prolonged attention.
Pol’s recent paintings take on an apocalyptic vision of the world. While the subject matter is at times dark – full of killing devices and looming figures – his aesthetic is seductive and sensual, offering a fitting portrayal of the polished yet misleading reality presented to the contemporary consumer. Ironically, yet fittingly, this apocalyptic vision is imbued with a complexity and originality that smacks of instant discovery and inspiration.
Guests of the exhibition
Istanbul74 carries the event’s opening with famous names from arts, culture and media sceneNicolas Pol is represented by art dealer Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld.
Exclusively for the opening at Istanbul ‘74, Roitfeld’s mother Carine Roitfeld, the former editor of French Vogue, will be in attendance. Turkey’s famous faces such as Cem Hakko, Ronit Gülcan, Derin Mermerci, Elif Boyner, Mirgün Cabas and Tuba Ünsal will be also at the opening tonight.