• A Journey into the Depths of Wisdom with Özgür Demirci

    Interview: İpek Yeğinsü

    For Özgür Demirci, the process of becoming a human being begins  with respect for other creatures… We depart on an exciting journey of discovery as we dive into the depths of Demirci’s sea of creativity, who emphasizes artistic intuition and is inspired by a wide range of subjects ranging from traditional arts to mythology.

    In your works you derive inspiration from traditional Anatolian crafts and patterns. How does your creative process take place? Do you conduct research into these patterns, or is it more of an inspiration based on free association?

    I begin each work by searching for-building a new surface onto which I can paint as if on an ordinary paper. During this process I modify the paper’s texture, the surface and how it absorbs the paint. I find various types of paper with differing surfaces and I build a limited number of them. Each time I change the form of painting and the material that contains the paint I use. Consequently, my art is divided into phases/periods. I never go back. I am not interested in doing so. Once the papers I work with are extinct, an era comes to an end. I do not have the urge to adopt a stylistic genre and to proceed with it for a lifetime. I think such an attitude is against the essence of art; but today’s actors in art are anxious to market “stylism” as if it is an artistic must-do. In fact if they went back just a little and looked at the artistic geniuses, they would see they always went back and forth between various styles and always produced art interactively.

    On the other hand, my relationship with pattern and motif began in my high school years. Right after my freshman year, thanks to some teachers recently appointed to my department I received a good textile education. I could design various patterns for fabrics, tapestry and kilims, weaving them in loom templates at the workshop and could see the results. During this time I became familiar with traditional patterns. And during my college years, thanks to easier access to books and literature in this field, my interest reached an academic level. Probably as a natural consequence of this interest and accumulation I worked at a textile factory as a designer the first year I came to Istanbul. I also very carefully and attentively examined the mosaics, clothes, coins, jewelry and motifs on home accessories of ancient civilizations in museums, which must have had a great contribution to the accumulation of such a memory.



    Özgür Demirci, Summer Happiness


    Which mythologies, regions, cultures or periods inspire you the most? Anatolian poet/philosophers like Yunus Emre or Hacı Bektaş Veli are also extremely important. What place do they have in your art?

    Since I am able to understand, I feel a great interest and sympathy for the arts, languages and religions of the East, especially the countries of the Far East. China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, India… I have always been more interested in countries where Buddhism is widespread. I think Buddhists have a great respect for nature, animals and the environment, and they live more morally correct lives. Similarly, in Anatolia I am more interested in people and beliefs with the symbol of the sun in their flags or turning certain animals into symbols because they live in greater harmony with nature. The depiction of Hacı Bektaş with the lion and the gazelle on his lap, even this single picture is enough reason for me to sympathize with him, and it is a great clue on what kind of a world of ideas he has. As what inspired Buddha, what helped him reach “the absolute reality” and “perfect understanding” was Bodhi or the tree of Bo, similarly, what brought Hacı Bektaş to wisdom was a love for nature and humanity. By not distinguishing  a lion from a gentle gazelle and placing them both on his lap is an indication of his wisdom. For a human being, wisdom begins by realizing that every living thing in nature suffers, becomes angry, becomes offended at least as much as he or she does. My paintings do not depict the man in struggle with nature, they are about the thoughts and dreams of the wise men negotiating with it. In short, contemplation, intuition and coincidence are the three basic notions on which my paintings are constructed.

    Another area of my focus is the Ottoman and Uyghur miniature. The oldest and most highly qualified examples of Turkish painting belong to the Uyghur Turks. The wall paintings and various miniatures found in Uyghur city remains from the 8th and 9th centuries are from the period during which Turks believed in Buddhism and Manichaeism. The first thing apparent in these miniatures is a decent life in harmony with nature. According to Manichaeism any evil deed, such as murder, or pulling off plants or fruits from trees , prolong the captivity of divine light on earth. Moreover, Mani both wrote and illustrated Manichaeism’s holy book, Arzhang, so that the illiterate could understand it as well; and these depictions are the first examples of miniature. In this sense, the birth of art in the East and West are one and the same; both develop from the urge to illustrate holy texts for illiterate people.

    You say you do not plan your composition in advance, embracing an intuitive attitude. How did the paint behave on the hand-made papers you used in your new series some of which are on view at the Treasure Room exhibition? Were you able to predict it, or how can you predict it? Similarly, are your paints and pigments ready made or are they prepared in line with traditional methods, according to the examples of those epochs?

    What goes around comes around. All these readings and resarch processes fill me and a place in me called the subconscious as it fills a treasure room. At some point you feel the desire to evacuate this room. And everything begins right at this moment. New images demand new materials and if you cannot find them you have to invent them. I make use of traditional methods of calligraphers when making these papers. I can never predict the results; actually getting to know the material, seeing-observing how they interact and the accumulation of experience as such will gradually render it predictable. At this stage, my case takes a lot of time as a trial-error process. I usually buy my paints as ready mades and I especially prefer Chinese and Japanese products.

    ozg dem

    Özgür Demirci, The Juniper that Smells like Titanium, The Story of the World

    Your works embody a deep narrative urge. How do you interpret them in this framework? Shall we read each of them as a sequence of a story, or is each a single story harboring various readings?

    I never depart with the urge to illustrate a story. Anything that keeps my mind busy from time to time definitely finds a place in my canvases as a color or form, one day or another. On the other hand, these paintings I create as a series can be thought of as a story book; like a whole book containing various stories under different headings, with a clear beginning and an end, weaved around a certain idea or emotion and collected under one big title. Each painting is meaningful in itself, but also part of the puzzle. A finished and exhibited work is as far from and close to the viewer as it is far from and close to me. Me trying to explain my work is nothing more than trying to interpret it, like the viewer. Even if someone like me who emphasizes spontaneity and coincidences  begins the process with a preliminary design, the work can be finalized in a radically different way. As a result, the story is constantly rewritten throughout the process of painting. It is never possible for me to predict the end of the painting. Working with the feeling of curiosity kept alive by this mystery is another source of motivation. I deeply enjoy looking at a painting once it is finished.


    Özgür Demirci, Cursed Black Tree

    What are the new materials you would like to experiment with, or new subject matters you would like to focus your future research on?

    I think of using a different material on canvas instead of oil paint. I have not pursued it yet. There are 8-10 papers I have to finish first, as soon as I finish them I will enter a new phase. I believe I will focus on Confucius and as he said, ” Either find a path, open a path or remove yourself from the path”.

    How did you meet Art50?

    A friend of mine had started working there. Ahe offered me to be featured in the website and we have been working together since that very day.

  • A Journey into Rafet Arslan’s Universe of Ideas

    Interview: İpek Yeğinsü

    Rafet Arslan is an artist who constantly reads, questions and synthesizes, and who meticulously elaborates the intellectual references in his works. He builds his art on conceptual networks ranging from history to philosophy, and he tries to reach the purity of poetry in art. We invite you to a journey in Rafet Arslan’s universe of ideas and a meditation in his world of thoughts.

    We know that you draw your inspiration heavily from Post-Modern literature and that in your works you often use the tension between utopia and dystopia. Who are the leading thinkers and books that inspire you within this framework? Can we define your creative process as “artistic research”?

    “Artistic research” is an excessively technical term. For me, the artistic process is a spiritual one, with all the preceding cognitive preparation. This is why I do not see my readings as a preparation stage for a project or a field research. I think the reading/thinking process the artist initiates with the aim of establishing a connection with reality, his or her efforts to internalize that content and to try, departing from here, to understand the world with his or her own imagery, is very important. And, in my opinion, the consequences of these tendencies have a place in the process of creating aesthetic and visual forms. From this viewpoint, it is more than natural that I am interested in modern and pre-modern literature as well as the post-modern one. Specifically, post-modern literature is not something I can disregard since it tries to interpret the world of the present or the world that I was born into. Although I am inspired by a wide range of philosophical sources ranging from alchemy to Surrealism, from Frankfurt School to Science-Fiction, the influence of Baudrillard’s theories are particularly visible in my works.


    Rafet Arslan, Geiger Counter Is Civilization


    We live in a land extremely rich in cultural heritage and memory but also equally difficult because of the current dynamics. How do you think this is reflected in your art?

    Especially in the last 4-5 years , it has become difficult to live, let alone to produce art in Turkey.  As a society we are going through a traumatic process dominated by violence and manipulation. Here the artist as a creative individual is not far from the sufferings and traumas of the society and, what is more, he or she internally experiences them most deeply.  Perhaps his or her difference from the man on the street emerges at this very point; he or she must bear witness to his or her own epoch, and to somehow place all this traumatic situation in his or her artistic practice. At this point the artist also has the function of finding those historical moments in that location in which brighter, more humanistic, spiritually encompassing moments that appeal to the individual’s free consciousness are present; of restoring these experiences as images into the therapeutic aspect of art. I think art has more to say during harder times. .

    Collage is a very important technique for you. It has recently become a method that artists use very often, and we may even argue that it has become one of the “fashionable” trends that appear from time to time in contemporary art “market”. But is it possible to say that all artists are able to use this method with the same level of awareness and expertise? How do you interpret this phenomenon?

    Collage and the aesthetic of montage in its generic sense is truly at the center of my artistic practice. This is not only to tell stories by cutting and pasting paper, but it can also develop as assemblages made of objects, transformed into three dimensional or moving collages. In art, collage is a form of avantgarde expression that emerged to break the constraints of the decorative and retinal taste, to create a new viewpoint that also involves the idea and the story. Unlike anything you create by grabbing a pair of scissors and a magazine , it is an aesthetic that questions, that carries in it the thought and the imagery. I can personally say the following: I have been using collage and montage techniques for the last 10 years, also aware that they are not that well undersood in our country. At this point, as someone who not only produced art but reflected, wrote, spoke and initiated research in this realm, I am happy to see the young artists approaching the aesthetic of collage and producing work in this field. However, it is probably beyond my reach to provide an answer in what sense it has become fashion or how much place it has in the “contemporary art market”.



    Rafet Arslan, Moon Strike


    Can you describe your works featured in the “Treasure Room” exhibition?

    I prepared a small selection of my works from different periods, having reflected on the exhibition concept as well as the architecture and the historical texture of the venue, Adahan. The common denominator of these works is their relation to history, myth and fantasy. In selecting them I also considered their relationship to the space, the exhibition’s text and the supporting readings. I can say that I am personally satisfied with the exhibition and the installation I did in it.

    You state that for you, art is a way to reach pure poetry. In your opinion, who are the artists that managed to approach the “pure poetry” state as closely as possible? And why?

    At the end of the day, the art we create, the imagery we propose and the ideas at their basis are somehow related to the cultural heritage accumulated for thousands of years and that we actually call humanity. From the viewpoint of the memory of human civilization, poetry was the purest, the earliest state of art. It was the point of departure that caused the human being to question who he is, where he came from, where he is going to, what his place in the universe is, what his relation to eternity is. In ancient times, the artist was probably his clan’s shaman, healer and poet at the same time. And I probably try to reestablish this connection my ancient colleagues established with reality. And within this framework, the question of what pure poetry is, a question that ranges from the German and British Romanticists to Symbolist poets, from Surrealists to 21st century Cyberpunks and Techno-Shamans, stands at the center of my practice. I also see contemporary art production as a way to extract poetry from verses.

    Can you talk about the independent art initiatives you are part of, including “Periphery”? Do you think the developments in Turkey in this realm are positive? Or to what extent can such initiatives reach their objectives especially in terms of sustainability? What can be done to reach them?

    I and my artist colleagues have been naming Periphery as a collective rather than an initiative for a long time. Our earlier collective and independent artistic experiences were part of a process that involved Sürrealist Eylem Türkiye, Şebeke and their exhibitions, printed fanzines and publications, forums and performances. During this process we finalized certain memorable works like Yıkım 2011 and Gerçeklik Terörü. But in the last few years I do not think Periphery can be called an art collective; it is rather an art group that tries to trigger collective movements and collaboration. In a country like Turkey where collective thinking/production culture is very weak, the sustainable existence of independent art is in itself a problem. It requires plenty of patience, hard work and stubbornness. On the other hand, the thing called the “art market” can hardly recognize the contribution of independent maneuvres and their role in the direct delivery of art to the masses. I can immediately think of Amber Platform, Pasajist, Açık Stüdyo and Halka Art Project as those “sustainable” examples continuing their activities as initiatives despite everything.

    The projects you would like to realize for the future?

    First I am plannning a solo exhibition for late 2016 and I am focused on that. I think the therapeutic and cautionary role of art should come forward especially during the moments of social crisis. Now I am after new aesthetic languages and images that can address this situation without the banality of an exhibitionist attitude and without disregarding reality; I am working on it. Moreover, I want to continue on my hand-made book series I call “image book” that are very excited to produce. I want to realize my dream of creating a book about the poet Rimbaud.

    How did you meet Art50.net? How do you interpret the future of online platforms?

    The Internet has been in our life for a while now and became part of everyday life. Within the dynamics of our era I think the online ways of rendering art accessible and available for sale to greater masses are important. I follow such platforms both in Turkey and abroad. I saw Art50.net as such a platform in our country trying to do this in a correct way and we have been collaborating for a while now.


  • Interview with Gözde Başkent

    Gözde Başkent draws attention with her authentic style and her conceptual viewpoint emphasizing nature-human relationship. We talked to Başkent, who has recently joined us, about her artistic practice.

    In your paintings you generally depict women. How do you interpret the connection between woman and nature? Are you interested in mythology? Where do you find inspiration?
    The human beings’ distance with nature constitutes the essence of my works. I create compositions referring to the idea that everything is part of one single whole and each being is essentially made of the same material. While handling the relationship the individual establishes with his or her surroundings and concepts considered important for humanity, the figure becomes the central element in the painting. The figure I use in my paintings is a symbol I use to represent the humankind, and as the paintings’ narrator, I can relate more easily to a woman and thus these figures are usually women. The unkown and undiscovered majority of the universe, science, cultures and beliefs based on nature, natural history museums, prehistoric life/clans, abandoned places are amongst my leading subject matters.


    You like working on wood. Does this have to do with your works’ conceptual framework?
    I work with wood and canvas but compared to the canvas, wood offers an alternative working space; it can direct the painting. The tree’s texture, its life, its flaws become part of the painting. It also requires an attitude different from canvas as material. It allows for less freedom but it is very suitable for detailed work.
    We may argue that some of your works have sculptural characteristics. Do you like sculpture? Do you want to create any?
    I am always open to experimenting with different materials and I love sculpture as a viewer; but sculpture is another discipline and I think you need to reach a certain level of mastery to create works of that kind. Installations in my most recent exhibition were important for me in terms of experiencing working with 3 dimensional works. Trying new materials allows me approach the subject from a new angle. I think I will keep on creating works of similar nature.

    In what ways did you benefit from your Bologna experience?
    I went there during my graduate studies via Erasmus Program. My M.F.A. thesis was on the relationship between contemporary painting and illustration. Although its painting workshops were not as fruitful, the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna is a school with extensive opportunities in illustration and print. Here I had the chance to take illustration courses, which was something I couldn’t do at my own school. Receiving criticism and portfolio evaluation from various instructors with different approaches during this period had an impact on my later work. In addition, Italy has a very important place in art history.  Bunun dışında İtalya sanat tarihi içinde çok önemli bir yere sahip. The opportunity to see many museums and seminal artworks is in itself a benefit.


    Who are your favorite artists from Turkey and the world?

    I try to follow many artists; it is hard for me to name a few. I particularly enjoy looking at the works of artists affiliated with pop-surrealism, street art and illustration.

    From an art-historical perspective,which historical period would you have chosen to live in if you had the chance?

    Circa between 1450 and 1550, in Italy or the Netherlands.

    How did you meet Art50?

    It was one of the channels through which I followed the art scene. From the artists’ viewpoint, it is a great source of motivation that the artworks reach their audiences. I am pleased to have found the opportunity for collaboration.

    Click to visit the artist’s page.

  • Emre Meydan Interview

    Emre Meydan is an artist working in a variety of media. He deeply enjoys making the viewer face him/herself in unknown places. He asked him about the artistic motivation behind his attitude and how he approaches different media.
    Interview: İpek Yeğinsü
    How did you become interested in humanless indoor and outdoor landscapes? Does your interest in deserted places have a special meaning?
    Nearly all of my works up to now have consisted of humanless paintings. I can basically correlate this to two main purposes: the first is to avoid the narrative that originates from the figure’s inclusion in the painting. In fact once we see a figure in a painting, we begin to empathize with him/her: we focus on what he or she is doing or thinking there. I am well aware that the figure’s presence renders painting more interesting for many people and facilitates their emotional connection to it, but still I want to maintain a distance with that kind of narrative. My second purpose, on the other hand, is to make sure the viewer feels lonely in the depicted place. To make sure that figure is the actual person participating to the painting instead of being an observer.
    In addition to painting you use materials like thread and fabric that are more often associated with manual labor and female artists. How was the idea born?
    Some people think there is an agenda and a purpose behind my use of thread and fabric. But in my works I don’t try to give a message. For me, every material I use is my paintings is only important as an instrument. At first I used threads as aulixiary lines to correctly position the composition on the canvas; the threads that I streatched on the canvas while painting became loose and intertwined as I proceeded. From this viewpoint thread functions as a marker illşustrating the painting’s first planning stage and its progress/history. On the other hand, I am also interested in it as a linear element in contrast with the painting’s character with large color fields. In my later work I began to stretch pieces of fabric in various ways on the canvas to augment the feeling of depth. My latest works took this another step further, with the threads extending outside the frame onto the wall surface and building a dialogue with the exhibition space.

    Emre Meydan, 2015

    You are an artist working with other media as well, including photography, video and music. Can one argue that you associate yourself with interdisciplinary practices? Are you involved in collective projects and collaborations with other artists? Do you find collective practices fruitful?
    Yes, I enjoy working with different materials and techniques. I try to combine my works from different disciplines when I get the chance. I also did some artist collaborations. Particularly my professor in Bremen encouraged us to do so. In addition, a friend of mine and I have a music project titled “resfacta” for amny years now. I think working with others is an enjoyable process, it pushes you to try new things and makes you more open minded.
    Which discipline among these matters to you the most? Or do you define such a hierarchy?
    For me a hierarchy doesn’t exist.I enjoy working with all of them. Sometimes I emphasize one over the others, and later the situartion changes again. And as a natural consequence of my formal education in painting and the fact that I participated to many exhibitions with it, people generally define me as a”painter” and this is why they expect me to participate to new exhibitiğons with painting again. It is also the reason why I dedicate most of my time to painting. But as I get the chance I also exhibit my works in other disciplines.
    You reside in Germany and completed part of your formal education there. How did this experience influence you?
    As I started school here I realized how freely and fearlesslystudent were able to create works. At first I was creating more timid and conservative works with the anxiety to “do well”, and since I came here I have been trying to overcome this, to be braver, to try experimentations with more liberty. Our professor at school was also of great help in it.

    Who are the artists and musicians in Turkey and abroad that you follow regularly? Which deceased artist would you have liked to meet and converse with if you could?

    Choosing a few names out of the list of the artists that influence me is always very difficult for me. Because in every artist I encounter I may find interesting and impressive elements. I find it more fulfilling to discover new artists rather than following the work of some seminal artists.


    Emre Meydan, 2015

  • On Paper, Drawing and Storytelling with Melike Kılıç

    On Paper, Drawing and Storytelling with Melike Kılıç
    Interview: İpek Yeğinsü

    Melike Kılıç is a true storyteller. Using the tree and the forest, the two unforgetable elements of our childhood imagery, she builds new stories. Taking a promenade in the magical worlds of her drawn and paper-cut characters is like walking around in a 3D book. We took a colorful journey with Melike Kılıç into her rich world of imagitation.
    IY: How did your artistic adventure begin? Did you use to create art when you were a child?
    MK: When I was a child I was a great daydreamer. I used to build walls, plates, many things with clay. My talent for drawing was discovered very early on. I was constantly told to never stop painting.


    Melike Kılıç, Neverland

    IY: You received part of your artistic education in Vienna. How did this experience affect your art? How did it guide you?
    MK: I have always loved departures. I went to Vienna just out of the curiosity for this experience as a journey. And both the city itself and my school took me to another level. I began to srite short stories in its trains. In a country whose language I did not speak, there was only me and my inner voice. So many stories and tales were pouring out of me that for a long time I stopped painting and kept writing. From this perspective Vienna was great for me and it also made me a bit more peaceful.
    IY: In your works you tend to tell stories. What sources do you draw your inspiration from?
    MK: Every medium that contains language is actually about storytelling. My definition of me, on the other hand, is about me being a shaman, a healer, a taleteller and a dreamwalker. Poetry, literature, fairy tales, cinema and all the beauties in the world inspire me.


    Melike Kılıç, No Country

    IY: It is often told that children’s tales actually do not target children, and their original versions are filled with metaphores that are much more violent. What would you say about this? What kind of traces can we find in your stories?
    MK: My mother’s tales were never intended for children. If my drawing has a dark side to it, I have always thought this was due to my mother’s tales. She taught me at an early age that the world was turned into a dark place by humans. There is a hopeful waiting in my works, yes, but a darkness trying to devour this hope is dominant.
    IY: Why do you use the tree and the forest so often? What does it mean to you?
    MK: Trees are like the most vital word in a story to me. I build a story out of all the trees. A big forest, a big world. I’m extremely fond of nature; the human being belongs to nature. Urbanization and concrete invasion are not things that I like and I use the tree and forest themes as a rebellion. And all the rebels, all the ones opposing the existing system go back to the forest. A state of poetic narrative and epic transformation. I express the feeling of wondrousness most naturally and lyrically with a forest. Actually what I do is rather building narratives, promising people new places and new dream forests where they would love to be. Each tree I cut out from paper and give shape to, is to make you dream with your eyes open and to turn you into a dreamwalker.
    IY: Let us also briefly talk about your drawings. What do you use as materials? Do you particularly prefer any brands or products?
    MK: I enjoy using many of Faber-Castell’s products. In terms of drawing, the precision and fluidity of the green series in addition to the trouble-free nature of the technical drawing pens make me very happy. I also enjoy using the various products in the Pitt series. I particularly like the fact that they allow for a more precise and multilayered painting with watercolor brush tips. I have been recently experiencing them.


    Melike Kılıç, Laundry City

    IY: Do you write stories or poems? Do you ever depart from texts when building the stories in your works?
    MK: Stories always kept flowing. Then I began to write poems, being poetic is something I really care about. The humanity losing its poetry is like the loss of speech. That place I create is a big fairy tale, a story and the poetry itself, in all its entirety.
    IY: Any artists you like and follow, in Turkey or abroad?
    MK: There are many but in the recent months the artists that impressed me the most has been Adrian Villar Rojas with his “The Most Beautiful of All Mothers” installation in Prince’s Islands.
    IY: When did you start working with Art50? How did it affect your career?
    MK: A year ago, with Marcus Graf’s recommendation. I believe it creates long term visibility.
    IY: Which exhibitions did you take part of with Art50?
    MK: “Up in the Air” and “Stories Untold”.
    IY: What are your biggest dreams about yourself, your profession and your life?
    MK: Presenting my multidisciplinary narratives and atmospheres to many people’s perception, as a whole. Works that appeal to all senses, that combine my poems and my fairy tales. Doing big installations, huge, threedimensional, in which people can walk. My biggest dream is cinema, making short films, and of course travelling the world for inspiration and experience.

    Click to see Melike Kılıç’s artist page on Art50.net.

  • Icons in Lightboxes

    Meet the works by Ayna!

    Departing from popular quotes and icons, Ayna uses the graffiti and paste-up techniques, also including the lightbox and the neon in his works. In addition to Istanbul, he installs his works in various cities in Lebanon, Germany, Australia and Pakistan, aiming at making the viewers see these reflections in their own lives as well. Here is his interview with İpek Yeğinsü, published on sanatonline.net. Have a great read!

    In your works you use characters from popular culture. Does the current agenda dictate your selections or are they individuals that you particularly admire and find interesting?

    The agenda changes very often in Turkey. My selections are based on the current agenda but I don’t include every popular person in my selection. It’s easy to become famous. On the other hand, I pick people who are in the hearts of masses, with a place in society. Using their images and taking their strong expressions and sentences I reflect them with the appropriate typography. Their approach is sometimes positive and in other times sarcastic. I usually try to approach things from a humorous point of view because it is easy to find the negative, while it is harder to express through the positive, and I try to do the latter.



    Graffiti and street art in Turkey made a giant leap in recent years. What do you think about it?

    It actually made a giant leap in the entire world. When you look at its history it’s a phenomenon that started with the signature of a postman in New York, and it was not even been seen as art at first. In time it became a field that appeared in auctions and changing the course of art history. This will even go further, it already made a peak with Banksy’s documentary. By the way I believe there is a very serious PR agency behind Banksy, I think they have created him like creating a superhero. I can sense this as an insider. Frankly, street art is very open to manipulation and misinformation. My works were vandalized in Kadıköy with a cross put on them, but this makes the works stronger. Because a reaction emerges and creates a dialogue.

    How did you meet Art50.net? How is its impact on your career?

    I met them thanks to Marcus Graf while I was in Australia. He’s a very important person, a mentor. He brought us together. Once I examined the website I noticed they were doing very successful projects, and I liked the team. I think it will continue to be so because there is a great team.

  • An Interview with Deniz Yılmazlar a.k.a Karbon About Her Art

    We’ve had a pleasant conversation with our artist Deniz Yılmazlar a.k.a. Karbon about her creative processes.
    Family-PortraitSeries-Sister with Cloud

    Family Portrait Series, the Sister and the Cloud

    You received your B.F.A. in Photography and Video. In your recent series Unutma Beni (Forget Me Not) eight photographs are complemented by a video. Is this born out of a necessity? How did this series come into being?
    Actually Forget Me Not and Remember Me – Forget Me are two different projects that were created simultaneously or even intertwined. I am aware that they seem to be complementary; but this is only about some of their technical aspects. The fact that in both projects monochrome photographs are used and the visual movement attritubed to the figures intensifies that feeling. According to a German myth god creates the entire universe; he gives a name to everything he creates but forgets to do so for a tiny flower. The flower addresses him and says “Forget me not”. Smiling in a photograph is in a way this flower’s calling: “Forget me not”. In this series the new appearance of the figures that seem to be fading out (actually probably born at the very moment the picture was taken) has something to do with a desire: the desire to be remembered. If we assume that having your picture taken has something to do with fighting against being forgotten by being documented, we may sense that the faces in these photographs tend to totally become part of the space, never to leave it again. Bodies are intertwined with the space in which they pose, they penetrate it completely. They try not to be forgotten also by exploring this option. In other words, while the Forget Me Not series aims at answering the question “while having abandoned their physical existence in this worl, do the faces in the old photographs abandon their existence fixed in that moment in the photographs, or can they do so?”, from the viewpoint of the method and the provided answers, it is different from the Remember Me – Forget Me project.In that video the faces in the pictures not only lose their physical existence in the world, but they can also abandon the space they are in. In the project presented with the words “The body moves in space, the soul moves in time”, the faces who proove their existence through having their pictures taken complete their fadeout without leaving a tracethanks to some contemporary technical possibilities, and they tend to catch up with their motion in time. Exactly at this point the two projects become totally separate.
    Göl Unutma Beni Serisi 2015 S&B Fotograf, İnkjet Baskı 12x7,5 cm 
The Lake Forget Me Not Series 2015 B&W Photograf, Inkjet Print 12x7,5 cm-6426

    Lake-Forget Me Not series

    In the series Forget Me Not and Void you intervene on found photographs. How is the experience?
    Although it is not something I intentionally planned, I was surprised to notice that in the recently emerging series I have been using old photographs. As I evaluated this process I realized that, in addition to other series I have been working on, the authentic atmosphere in each of the old photographs is compatible with some of the subjects I have been reading, wondering or thinking about. Actually it also feels very hard to just walk away from a box full of photographs. As I look at the ones I select from among them and invent stories, trying to figure out what attracts me to them, some series are born.
    In your works the dominant issues seem to be life-death and memory. What are your artistic motivations?
    Points of motivation change every time, which is natural. For instance the project Void
    was born during a visit we paid to some relatives with my family. One of the old photograph albums that suddenyl came out was very interesting. One of the figures was removed from each and every photograph in the album. But the pictures were there in it as if nothing happened! The absence of this individual no longer loved and seen and thus cut out and removed suddenly appeared before me in a very strong way, with an entity in the shape of a void. By bringing these voids onto surfaces made of porcelain and used as gravestone photographs I created the Void series composed of the photographs of the void that remained behind the deceased. Even turning into yourself after the things brought by everyday life, exploding bombs and everything that happened, the reality flowing out of the screen, and the ambiguity of reality or its doubtful existence are enough to show me that  it is necessary to discuss the points of motivation again and again each time.

    Baby-Void Series (left). News from Nowhere (right).

    You seem to have the desire to render some things blurry and transparent.
    Family Portrait and News from Nowhere have faces that fade out. On the other hand the blurry ones in Void or After Dark My Sweet are reminiscent of efforts to concentrate among things that are being lost.

    Family Portrait series contain a small portion of the photographs where I take the concept of family and place my own family at the center, taking note of some dates, events, people and places I am supposed not to forget for my family history by using symbols. It is somehow a tentative practice for building a kind of individual memory. Or a journal that I prepare with the memories that I seemingly have to remember. It has a function similar to the notes you take on your hand before you leave home or shopping lists. It is just that the text is replaced by the photographs and symbols. These pictures with faces and figures that are cut out, overwritten, or hidden behind other things, make me curious about the reasons behind each of these interventions. In these series’ process of creation I also try to find the source of this curiosity. News from Nowhere emerged as the result of such curiosity. In the works created with an attitude underlining the ambiguity of what is hidden behind that face even in the pictures with the face entirely exposed, the faces are hidden behind the clouds in the midst of the hectic daily life.
    Where does the name “Karbon” come from?
    It is a name I have given myself after a moment of reflection, during which I thought we could be copies generated with blue carbon paper, since we are not flawless. When I encounter someone who thinks they are flawless I cannot establish communication with them anyways. Carbon is a kind of a stage name.
    What are your future projects?
    These days I read a lot about matter and memory. I am vurious about how forgetting looks in the mind. This is a field that requires reading in medicine and psychiatry. I want to know how we tend to forget someone, some place or a piece of information, and which pieces are deleted first and how. I also pursue some collage ideas where I can combine old and new photographs. I will explore if it is possible to move in time via old photographs. I wonder what the day to come will bring.


  • Interview with Göksu Gül / Small Units’ Giant Stories

    Interview with Göksu Gül / Small Units’ Giant Stories

    Young artist Göksu Gül who joined art50.net in July 2015 reappears in the exhibition titled “Up in the Air”, taking place at Vogue Restaurant in Akaretler and organized by art50.net. You may remember her from Mamut Art 2015 or the Istanbul Rotary Art Competition Exhibition at Elgiz Museum that ran until June 13 2015, where she was awarded with the 1st prize. Those of you who do not know Göksu Gül well should read this interview before visiting the exhibition where her works “Tooth 1” and “Tooth 2” are hanging in the air!

    Interview: Polen Müge Korkmaz

    Translation: İpek Yeğinsü

    Göksu Gül whose solo exhibition at Blok Artspace titled “Free of Charge” ran until April 25 also works as a caricaturist. Göksu talks about her most recent artistic ventures and the various materials she employs in her production.


  • Lale Delibaş’s Works at Borusan Contemporary

    Conversation with Lale Delibaş on Her White, Seamed Canvases

    Lale Delibaş whose works are featured in various private collections and whose exhibition record includes Borusan Contemporary, Zorlu Beymen, Elgiz Art Museum and Mardin Biennial, participates to the Borusan Contemporary collection exhibition “Desire” with two artworks: “Untitled” and “Pinocchio”.  The artist writes a passage from Leyla Erbil’s book “The Remaining” on the wall where one of her works in the collection, “Untitled”, is installed. Delibaş who thus builds a new space for the canvas creates an interesting fusion by combining shamanic texts on the canvas with the religious texts on the wall. The combination of text and artwork is not new to Delibaş. In the majority of her works the visual is accompanied by the written and they interact. It is exactly here that it overlaps with the theme of “Desire” in search of different integrities of “meaning” and “concept”. Some works in the exhibition can only be discovered by attentive viewers. Like Lale Delibaş’s mini sculpture, Pinocchio. Visit Borusan Contemporary until February 21 2016 to notice the details and to appreciate Leyla Erbil’s literary taste via visual arts curated by Necmi Sönmez.

    But before that, we suggest you read the conversation we had with Lale Delibaş on her artistic practice. We asked her about the seaming technique she often uses in her works that also gives her a conceptual direction to pursue. We were curious about the various cultures that inspire her as a result of her research activities and the reason why she always used white in her canvases. Delibaş explained in all its detail her artworks hiding stories behind their white surfaces. Do not miss the artist’s story ranging from the concept of reincarnation to Shamanism.


  • “Creatures In-between, Structures without Identity”: New Series by Saliha Yılmaz

    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)

    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)

    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)

    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. 

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