Exhibition in Istanbul: Loneliness and solitude create a new language
Hatice Utkan Özden
What does loneliness or solitude feel like? How do we feel if we are left all alone? Are we happy all alone or is it possible to isolate ourselves in society? The art of Gökhan Gökseven forces upon these questions, because as much as it is about himself, he wants the viewer to discover themselves and feel the solitude in his paintings. His artworks are like an expedition made to his world that makes us question ourselves and our solitude in life.
It is hard to see Gökseven’s works without thinking about the representation of colors. He uses colors as a new way of discovery in his art. In his paintings, blue forests, dark blue seas, pink lights, and brown inner spaces are poeticized. The movement from one picture to another is the motif itself, and Gökseven questions different subjects as he tries to show how solitude affects us in modern life. “In some of the paintings I wanted to show how male solitude exits. Living alone as a male has its dynamics,” he said, adding that the main thing in his paintings is not depicting a certain pain or suffering.
Sometimes his paintings are reflecting a movie scene and sometimes the realities of his daily life. However, even though his attempt to draw the realities of daily life, people from his life and cats he encounters each day in his neighborhood, as a painter he has a purpose: To make visible what the eye cannot see, to communicate with the viewer via his paintings. He wants to share his solitude with everyone looking at paintings. While he creates his paintings, he blends reality and imagination. “These paintings are mostly driven by my imagination, and sometimes I blend the reality, and I try new things.” However, Gökseven’s imagination is an essential tool for his paintings. He draws forests, vast landscapes, and seas. There is a longing to be in these vast landscapes.
When he ventures out of his imagination, Gökseven finds something even more inspiring. A series of portraits of cats and human beings (mostly friends of Gökseven) transform into a set of beautiful visions. The portraits are a part of the reality he wants to tell us about. The tones of portraits make these paintings a discovery of a new narration and each portrait are dream-like faces that appear in whimsical visions.
“Even though my paintings are colorful I know they might create a depressed or melancholic point of view. The colors I use are dark and direct,” said Gökseven.
Places, faces and melancholy
The paintings of Gökseven are not coming from happy endings or a rested mind. As an artist, he likes to paint dark and melancholic ideas onto canvases. However, when considering the characteristics of his paintings, it is better to differentiate two words: Melancholy and unhappiness. Because as an artist, Gökseven is well aware of his creative process and he owns his melancholy and successfully turns it into paintings.
“After studying and living abroad [mostly in the U.S.], I came back to Istanbul in 2016, and within a month, many things happened in Istanbul such as the 2016 coup attempt. But I managed to stay productive and continued to create and paint,” he added.
It is possible to see the artist’s determinant nature when following his creative process, while discovering his own placeless or displaced territory and how he constructs this territory as a new language. The exhibition “A House on a Hill” can be seen at the Pilot art gallery until Feb. 3.