Istanbul's Cercle d'Orient re-born as a center of culture and arts

Published 09.06.2016 22:34
Updated 09.06.2016 23:43
Istanbul's Cercle d'Orient re-born as a center of culture and arts

Located on İstiklal Avenue, the historical Cercle d'Orient building is currently under restoration and has started to display work by six artists as a preliminary event

Built in 1883 and has been registered as a first-degree historical monument, the Cercle d'Orient building, which has the longest façade in Beyoğlu, is exhibiting installations by Carole Turner, Levent Morgök, Hakan Çınar, Uğur Çakı and Ayla Turan. Hosted by Grand Pera with the mottos "Beyoğlu, Once Again" and "Art, Once Again," this unique display aims to revive Beyoğlu's history as a center for art.

"The Woman with Curlers and The Man in Pajamas" by Ayla Turan

The general manager of the Labor, Art and Culture Foundation (ESKV), Remzi Buharalı, said that the exhibition sets the tone for the institution's future projects: "The complex is taking art that brings meaning to life into the street." Artist Levent Morgök, a graduate of the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Department of Painting, believes that the things we experience and the words we say become something in the past once they happen, and they are condemned to be told to others in the past tense. He said he used figures in different layers in his piece titled "Metropolice" in order to convey this message. About her work "Self-portrait" Ayla Turan said: "I have always been a person who left pieces of [myself] while leaving a place." The artist interprets different states of love in her other pieces, "The Woman with Curlers and the Man in Pajamas." However, her work "Hope" is melancholic, wherein the artist can only see hope in the eyes of children. Daily Sabah spoke with participant Turan and Morgök about their pieces on display.

"Self-portrait" by Ayla Turan

Daily Sabah: When and how did you start your art career? What is the story behind your taking up sculpture?

Ayla Turan: I was accepted to Mimar Sinan University Department of Sculpture in 1992; that's how my sculpture adventure started. I have been working independently in my own studio and in different countries around the world since 1996. The reason why I leaned toward the field of sculpture is because 3-D expression is more attractive.

D.S.: Three of your pieces are on display at Grand Pera. In "Self-portrait," there is a woman converging from her own pieces. How can you define your mood while you were creating it?

Turan: The humor and entertainment side of all my sculptures generally outweigh the rest. My aim is to draw attention at first glimpse, capture the audience, put a smile on people's faces and enable each person to easily find something from their own lives in it. While creating my sculptures, I generally start from current events and my experiences during that period. That's why a different work emerges in every period. Sometimes it's because of the guidance of the materials. For example, the materials were effective in "Auto-portrait."

"In 'Hope,' the child looking at the sky, waiting for something from the sky with hope. We always experience melancholy on the ground, but while we are waiting for something and praying, we always look at the sky and expect something from there," Turan said.

When I started visiting the junk dealers and collecting those pieces, choosing pieces one by one, I thought about creating a portrait by combining individual pieces. Each piece in this portrait is has a different color and character. Every piece has its own story. When they come together, a brand new, totally different character independent from its former form emerges. If my muse is life, those pieces symbolize everything and everyone that touches my life and pieces constituting me.

D.S.: What was your inspiration for your "Hope" sculpture? Why is the child looking at the sky?

Turan: To me, the figure of the child always represents the future, the innovations and new starts. He is looking at the sky, waiting for something from the sky with hope. We always experience melancholy on the ground, but while we are waiting for something and praying, we always look at the sky and expect something from there.

D.S.: Can we say "Woman in Curlers and Man in Pajamas" is a response, a reference to today's consumption-oriented love?

Turan: I think there is no such thing as consumption-oriented love. If there is anything consumption-oriented, it is not love. "Woman in Curlers and Man in Pajamas" is a couple from my "A Couple" exhibition series in 2004. There is again a well-known characterization and caricaturization. I say I love you in every way - wife-husband, domestic life.

D.S.: You have used different materials in all of your work. What made you do this?

Turan: I love using different materials. Like I said, I start from current events and my experiences in that period. That's why each period brings out a different sculpture. I do not think as I used to 10 years ago, nothing is the same as I experienced 10 years ago. Everything changes, so the sculptures should, too. The will to try new things, the creation process, the exhibition areas, they affect me while choosing the materials most suitable for me to express what I have in mind. I generally use marble, granite, wood, metal and bronze in my big-scale sculptures. I have recently started using polyester and acrylic as well. Each change is a new excitement.

"Metropolice" by Levent Morgök

D.S.: When did your relationship with art start? What were the milestones that carry you to painting?

Levent Morgök: My brother was studying in Marmara University's Department of Painting before me. Therefore, the art world has been close to me since my childhood. After finishing high school, Mimar Sinan University Faculty of Fine Arts became my sole purpose. I started studying in the department of painting in 1989. I think it was the main milestone for me, and my following life was nested with art.

D.S.: You worked on the relationship between past and present and the feeling of being trapped it creates in people in your work at Grand Pera. Can you give us details about this work and your inspiration?

Morgök: Yes, even living in an urban environment can create this feeling of being trapped in all of us both physically and mentally. This feeling is of course valid for me as well, like everybody else. I think that within this urban texture, the windows we pass by every day and look inside without even noticing, are a pair of eyes that look at us. What happens when they reflect our inner problems and the things we don't want to see? I maybe wanted to emphasize this.

D.S.: There is a black background and a layered view in the installation of your work in the window. What does this depth mean?

Morgök: Black is always a color that intensifies the feeling of depth. It has a theatrical power. Cinemas and theaters are dark. These environments make audiences more focused. Here, I wanted to use the window as a stage or screen like the canals carrying us through the depths of our subconscious and our emotions.

D.S.: Can you give us some information about your current and future projects? What your followers will see in the near future?

Morgök: Currently, with Fırat Arapoğlu's anthology, some of my works are in a group exhibition in İzmir titled "Contemporary Stories." In the meantime, the works for my individual exhibition I plan to open at Çağa Cabaoğlu Art Gallery in September are in progress.

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