[-] > BACKSTAGE WITH ARTISTS > A Critical Look at the Concept of Progress with Doğukan Çiğdem
  • A Critical Look at the Concept of Progress with Doğukan Çiğdem

    Interview: İpek Yeğinsü

    Doğukan Çiğdem’s childlike, primitive characters point at the ridiculousness of humanity’s narcissistic admiration for itself and its civilization. They question how we get lost in the darkest tunnels of time with the illusion of dominating it. The artist poetically told his own story to us.


    How did your artistic venture begin?

    I had faith in the transfer at the very tip of the pyramid; my awareness emerged in my early twenties. I wasn’t supposed to keep it to myself. My paintings were supposed to flourish; I had already hit the road. My practicality allowed me to engage with a variety of materials; thus I began to carry the existing story into a diversity of forms.


    Did painting or fairy tales come first?

    Painting has always been there. Fairy tales, on the other hand, became a habit at the age of 15 once my reflex for taking notes emerged. I began to write my own short tales and then to illustrate them.


    Can you tell us about your conceptual approach?

    We’re able to evaluate pre-historic revolutions more objectively; their consequences had a less significant impact on us as individuals. That is why I prefer concentrating on the notion of progress of the last few centuries and I invite the viewers here as well. In my opinion, the only thing distinguishing some people from others is their ability to think on a daily basis, even only for two or three minutes. Since I discovered the power of forms in triggering questions, I have been trying to create question-like works at I believe are able to push people to think.

    Doğukan Çiğdem, Astral Travel, 2017.

    I’m wondering about your sources of inspiration…

    My main sources are human history, human vs. nature, human vs. human and nature vs. nature. In my paintings I try to emphasize the fact that time changes us and not the other way round.


    Your works bring archetypes and fantasy elements to mind. You have a connection with naïve and primitive arts, and it appears to be a critical attitude rather than a stylistic choice…

    You’re right; criticism is originated in how I manipulate aesthetics. An atmosphere of freedom brings authenticity as well, after all.


    Our present world is too analytical for many of us. Emotions are overshadowed by thoughts. The same holds for art as well. What would you like to say about this issue?

    The changing world turned intelligence into a must-have trait while it was only one of our many abilities. It was a mistake; organisms were reduced to simple mechanisms. As time went by, our emotional stomach shrank. As a result, we are currently too skinny.


    Can you describe your creative process?

    I can say that I sort of cocoon myself. I push my perception to the limit and I observe, I read. I find my inspiration both in literature and real life. You might guess that I experience no shortage of material supply whatsoever.

    Doğukan Çiğdem, Consultations, 2017.

    Contemporary artists you admire and regularly follow?

    I try to follow everyone that’s sincere; I actively engage in an effort to read the forms. The biggest role in interpreting a work of art belongs to the viewer; thus I don’t want to constrain myself by mentioning specific names. I foresee a work-viewer relationship where everyone looks at, reads, interprets everyone else and acts within that narrative.


    You also worked as a graphic designer. Do you continue to do so?

    I did some design-oriented, commercial projects in that area. I can’t say I have totally closed that page; I still keep experimenting and learning. But I think my place is rather in humor and literature magazines.


    How did your collaboration with Art50.net emerge? And your thoughts on online art platforms?

    I had assumed Art50.net was well equipped and open minded; I was right. I think online art platforms are a necessity but they have to be more selective and as soon as possible. In this sense, I see no alternative to Art50.net in this part of the world and I’m not alone in my impression.


    Your new projects in the nearest future?

    I will keep enriching myself with experimental media. I continue making tapestry, painting and sculpting. And I have a solo exhibition which will take place at Galeri Bu in December 2017.


    Click for the artist’s page.