Buğra Erol | Mind your wishes
Opening: 27th May, from 6 pm
Duration: May 27 - July 8, 2017
Talk & Tour: 3rd June, 2-4 pm
Buğra Erol | Stone Heart | 2017 | Acrylic on canvas | 160 x 220 cm
In his first solo show at BERLINARTPROJECTS, Buğra Erol takes the viewer on a journey through his mind and pictorial system with a reflective series of recent paintings and drawings. As the artist insists, the topic chooses him, not the other way round. In this case it was a sense of urgency that prompted Erol’s new exhibition.
Erol felt the need to confront himself face-on and find out what was hidden beneath – a situation assessment of sorts that helped him create a visual road map to his thought processes. This explorative journey within was reflected by his parallel move from the city of Istanbul to the Prince Islands – another journey into the unknown, closely intertwined with Erol’s interrogation of himself. This sense of exploring new territory, both internal and external, is mirrored in the titles of such works as Residence in Moon and Meanwhile in Another Reality – incisive accounts of the world we live in as perceived by the artist himself.
Erol’s paintings and drawings explore our troubled relationship with each other and with our surroundings, be they natural or urban, revealing the artist’s critical attitude towards the crimes of mankind in the modern age. They communicate a sense of unease and instability that is both the cause and the result of the socio-political issues of our time. Works like Kingslayer show a man with a house over his head, adorned with medals, but also with multiple signs that read DIE and WAR whilst The Residents show what seem to be finger puppets, brainwashed as the open skull of one of the figures suggests. Often fragmental in nature, Erol’s disjointed snippets of scenes of destruction have a graphic, collage-like feel – there is no overt narrative attempt, instead the focus is on clear expression and visual impact.
As the title of the exhibition suggests, the end line here is - be careful what you wish for. This can be seen to refer to society as a whole and how getting what we wish for has repeatedly backfired throughout human history. It can also work on a more personal level – the artist’s leaving behind of all that he wished for, perhaps translated in visual terms by Way Back Home, a shipwreck at sea with a thunder cloud floating away from it.
Buğra Erol was born in 1986. He lives and works between Berlin and Istanbul. He graduated from Yeditepe University Fine Arts Faculty, Plastic Arts Department in 2012. Multidisciplinary artist, Buğra Erol mainly works with paintings, installations to build fictional universes composed of oneiric, sometimes comical figures, based on his own fantasized reality and actuality. His works have been part of many exhibitions, including “Greetings From Now On: Territories of Commitments”, BERLINARTPROJECTS, Berlin (DE); “Beautiful Monuments of Decay”, Daire Gallery, Istanbul (TR); “Concrete Utopia”, Realismus Club, Berlin (DE); “Merz 3000”, Plato Art Space, Istanbul (TR); “90 Minute Shows”, Contemporary Istanbul International Art Fair (TR); “by Marcus Graf”, Papko, Istanbul (TR).
Duo exhibition - Ulrich Riedel & Emre Meydan
Opening: 21th April, from 6 pm
Duration: April 21 - May 20, 2017
Artist’s tour: 29th April, 2-4 pm (Gallery Weekend)
In April 2017, BERLINARTPROJECTS will host an encounter between two artists whose shared interest in the qualities of space and the boundaries of perspective brings their otherwise very different practices together. Sculpture meets painting in this exhibition, the geometric structures of Riedel dialoguing with Emre Meydan’s delicate images of interiors. Both artists have distinctive vocabularies for questioning representations of space and treating perspective with clever illusions and distortions, Riedel on a more monumental scale and Meydan on a more intimate one. Yet one does not outshine the other, rather, the works interact and inform each other in an explorative, collaborative way. Indeed, the core of the show is a joint piece by Riedel and Meydan; the outcome of their conversations on depth, spatial relations and three-dimensionality.
On entering the exhibition space, Riedel’s imposing wooden structures immediately strike the viewer. With their typically geometric appearance and undulating surfaces that create the illusion of further volumes, these works are adept experiments in the perception of texture. Their interlocking nature, based on subtle calculations and the principles of construction, reveal the complexity of these large-scale yet restrained sculptures. Oscillating between two and three dimensionality, Riedel’s minimalist pieces consciously play with spatial awareness, changing as soon as the viewer moves to a different angle with skilful agility.
Riffing off the neutral tones of Riedel’s structures, Meydan’s paintings have a subtly muted colour palette. His abstracted interior spaces experiment with depth without becoming fully three-dimensional, what the artist calls two and a half dimensions. The flat surface of the canvas is slashed and stitched back together, often extending beyond the boundaries of the frame to attach to the wall of the exhibition space. Thread is used to reconnect sections, in one work stretching across the entire wall in a bold, diagonal sweep. What Meydan seems to do in these paintings is to deconstruct the canvas as such, uncoupling the fabric from the stretcher in search of new ways to represent depth. These hybrid works of two and three dimensions, moving between the two with subtle fluidity, are rendered in tones of white and pastel shades, to the point where the picture starts to disappear, the contours blending and effacing the image as such. This is in direct conflict with the artist’s aim of creating depth, forming the central tension at the heart of Meydan’s practice, his works constantly fading in and out of focus, moving forward and receding back into the canvas.
The exhibition culminates in a collaborative artwork by Riedel and Meydan, acting as a symbiotic fusion of their two very different approaches. Typically, Riedel builds the frame, the structure, the backbone of the pieces with his rigorous geometric style whilst Meydan elaborates the interior with his subtle touch and intuitive interpretation of enclosed space.
Both the medium of sculpture and that of painting is intimately concerned with the notion of space and perception. Sculptures inhabit three-dimensional space, they are in direct contact with it and have to negotiate it from every angle and are perceived from every angle. Paintings – by definition flat surfaces – seek to create a sense of depth by two-dimensional means, by tricking the eye with optical illusions. In the case of the show Tilted Space, however, Riedel is the one that manipulates his wooden structures to create the illusion of volume whilst Meydan makes his canvases extend into three-dimensional space in a reversal of the aesthetic traditions of their respective mediums, underlining the dialogic nature of these artists’ exchange.
Text: Katja Taylor