Saliha Yılmaz has been widely popular with her works that focuses on the relationship of the individual between metropole and urban transformation on Art50.
In the new year, Yılmaz is sharing her new series for the first time with Art50 followers. We spoke to Yılmaz about how she started painting, the recurring motifs in her art and her new projects in the new year.
How did you start painting? Were you interested in it since childhood?
Even though it may be somewhat classical, my interest in dealing with art and living with this feeling dates back to my childhood. I remember clearly that my happiest moments were in art classes. We becomes what we spend most time on. In this case, it was inevitable for me to do something about art.
On the other hand, to exist in the art world is a circumstance set by the market and conditions of the particular period. It has a very fast and self-executing system on its own. I believe existence in this world is equivalent to production.
There is a recurring head/face motif in your works. How did the formation and evolution of this motif come about?
The focus of my works is “the condition of being an individual”. We can easily understand people’s expressions or their feelings/thoughts through their face. In the head/face part of the body I paint what feelings and thoughts transform into.
Saliha Yılmaz – The Sun Also Rises (detail)
With the starting of the new year your new series are being featured on Art50. Could you tell about the theme of these works?
In my first solo show, I used the architectural and socio-political conditions that we are faced with in postmodern age, and the affects of urban transformation and metropole on individuals. If you are living in Istanbul, it is impossible not to see how urban transformation swallows nature. I observed these through the frame of ‘nature and human’.
These works are a continuation of the series titled “Creatures In-between, Structures without Identity”. These figures who are the continuation of transformed characters show the viewers a world that is both familiar and strange. The poetic fiction that is formed on the surface by time and place such as ‘night/day and heaven/hell’ symbolize the world and the ages of masked creatures.
This series proposes to question the contemporary concept of nature and the identities that are given to individuals.
The titles of your works are often reinforcing your themes. For example your work titled “Like a Mountain” brings into mind the phrase “a mountain-like man” used for men. How do you choose your titles?
There are certain things that I pay attention to while titling my works. It is important for me that they can be easily remembered and point to the visual image in an ironic way. With titles I portray the widespread identity problem of our day.
When you look at a work, your first impression may not always be true. As in my work “Mad man”, a lot of people think that the figure is a woman, but it is a man.
Saliha Yılmaz – The Boy who Loves Cactus (detail)
In addition to paper, you have works made with plexiglas and neon. How do you decide on your choice of material? How do you start working with a new one?
Frankly, in the last 5 years I actively did works on paper. There reason why is the fact that paper has an easily controllable surface and using this is very pleasurable for me. Also, at that time I needed small-sized, paper works that were the continuation of my series then. When working on paper, I mostly use aquarelle, marker, ink and gouache. However, recently I use oil paint and ink on canvas paper.
During all this process and before I had different searches, and they are still on-going; because new materials always open new doors, and the expression becomes stronger through them.
I realized that light is very important in the conception of place. In addition to examining the relationship between light and shadow in place, the front lights and popular phrases that we are constantly faced with in our day also interests me. I did experimental works by using my drawings as canvases on lighted plexiglas boxes.
In the past year, you took place in the group show titled “hey, I am here” exhibited in Haliç Tersanesi and joined the Portakal Çiçeği residency program. Are you currently working on any projects?
In January, I participated in the group exhibition “Pardon, Which Floor?” in Merkur Gallery. The show consists of works that examine how people are alienated to themselves and their environment through the relationship of city and nature. The project will continue in February with the addition of examination of Nature. It will question the transformation of humanity into nature.
Again, in February I will participate in a group show focusing on neon works in Plato Art.
Saliha Yılmaz – Purgatory (detail) , Happiness (detail)
As a young artist, could you tell us how you feel about the increasing accessibility of art through the internet and Art50.net’s project?
I believe that Art50 is very important for providing visibility and accessibility for young artists. At the same time, it has various kinds of artworks for all art lovers. The fact that it is on internet makes it easier for followers to be up to date with Art50’s collection. In addition, in the Artlog section there are various interviews. All these factors show that Art50 has a very dynamic and artful structure.
You can reach Saliha Yılmaz’s work through this link.