Language of paintings unveils a path of life

Language of paintings unveils a path of life

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Language of paintings unveils a path of life

Güleryüz is a master at utilizing theatrical elements in his social and political satire, because of his background in theater.

Mehmet Güleryüz, one of Turkey’s most important contemporary artists, has given his life to his paintings and drawings. As an artist he has always stood close to his art and supported it with all his heart and mind. He has never given up the fight and has finally reached a very peculiar point in his art career, which he says he has “always tried to make respectable.”

It is the artist primarily who makes art respectable, he says. “At the beginning of my career, being an artist was nothing. Painting was considered something done by people who did not have a job,” he said. But Güleryüz always fought for it and never gave up fighting for it. Today, he is one of the most important artists in the world of Turkish contemporary art.

With Güleryüz’s story, the viewer encounters an artist who puts meaning into the life that he is living.

Within this framework, the paintings therefore tell of his story and his ways. Now in his 55th year making art, Mehmet Güleryüz displays his new paintings and drawings in an exhibition, “With One’s Eyes Open,” at The Empire Project.

The works, which consist of oil paintings, drawings, print editions and Italian Notebook editions, reveal the career of the artist. In fact, even the name of the exhibition reveals the thoughts of Güleryüz. “We are seeing everything and no one is hiding anything anymore. Everything is happening in front of our eyes. We see everything,” he says, discussing the exhibition title.

HDN The paintings of Güleryüz reference happenings in the world and in society. “People are hiding nothing,” he says, adding that everything can be seen “with eyes wide open.”

His drawings are the common denominator of the oil paintings and drawings are the artist’s improvisation against the conventional approaches in context, form, time and space. Güleryüz uses metaphors in his paintings. City, life, society, in short every aspect of life is reflected on his canvas. Sometimes Güleryüz reflects the city, sometimes people, and sometimes nature. His paintings are like piece of writing, full of details. The technique he uses is a very important one, as his brush creates its own language.

“The brush technique has a philosophical side. In this way we can say a novelist and a painter are similar. Because there is ‘contenu’ [content] in the painting,” he said. However, when one looks closely at the paintings, the aesthetic side and the main subject of the paintings should be balanced Güleryüz added. “Everything is about that balance in the paintings.”

The arguments are all references to an idea in the paintings. This is why one has to understand the painting and, in order to understand it, that person should first know the main idea. It is a challenge to dig into the paintings of Güleryüz, but how deep a viewer can go depends on the depth of his or her intellectual mind.

According to Güleryüz, there is a language in the paintings, and paintings and drawings have their own language. He never spends his time telling what has already been told, always setting out to renew himself and make novelties in his paintings. That’s why he chooses to use all he has metaphorically collected in his life in his paintings, then brings his own interpretations to the canvases.

The drawings of Mehmet Güleryüz

Güleryüz is a master at utilizing theatrical elements in his social and political satire, because of his background in theater. This is most evident in his drawings, in which his technique is very different to the paintings. It is fair to say that the drawings could be seen as his gesture to his followers - affordable pieces carrying his name in his 55th anniversary as an artist.

The exhibition is also an expression that Güleryüz’s quest for innovation is still going strong in his 55th year of making art, with fresh works of a striking and riveting kind. But what is left to the viewer is to understand what kind of ideas are behind it, as Güleryüz puts his understanding of the meaning of life into them.

The exhibition opened yesterday will continue until April 27.