Iconoclastic artist Yeşil reveals sounds, traces of his own creative journey in exhibition

İREM YAŞAR
ISTANBUL
Published 22.10.2019 18:57
Updated 22.10.2019 19:06
An oil painting by Ahmet Ye?il at Sesler ve ?zler (Voices and Marks).
An oil painting by Ahmet Ye?il at "Sesler ve ?zler" ("Voices and Marks").

Artist Ahmet Yeşil, who has excelled has in creating authentic expressions since his very first exhibition and left significant marks on the history of Turkish painting, will be at Galeri Diani with a new exhibition until Nov. 9 to mark his 40th year producing art

In the seventh art, namely cinema, the French term "auteur" is used to describe filmmakers or directors with a recognizable style or thematic preoccupation; in that when you see a production by these filmmakers or directors, you readily understand it. Among them are veteran directors like Michael Haneke, Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese and David Lynch. When it comes to the art of painting, there are some auteur artists who you will recognize at first glance in this field, as well. For instance, Austrian artist Gustav Klimt uses the female body as the primary object in his paintings and adds allegories and oxymorons by using opposite colors, shapes and designs. He is also very good at using golden patterns. Even though a viewer might not be familiar with all of his paintings, one can easily recognize a piece by the symbolist painter.

Creating original language

In the contemporary era, it is getting harder to find genuine artists producing original work. Even at art fairs and biennials, we see the repetition of the same things, which worries art enthusiasts. In such an environment, finding someone authentic is like a breath of fresh air. Gallery Diani in the neighborhood of Cihangir, which is always ready to host art lovers by working with Turkish and foreign artists who embrace all artworks whether concrete or abstract, did a great favor for art lovers and started presenting artwork by Ahmet Yeşil on Oct. 19 for the artist's 40th anniversary in art. "If you become aware of your knowledge about general art literature and the originality of the material you are concentrating on, you may catch a new and unique form of expression in your art," says Ahmet Yeşil. The Mersin-based artist creates his art in such an authentic manner that it is impossible to not recognize his brush strokes.

Yeşil generally uses objects like thread and rope on his canvases, on which he applies oil and acrylic paints. Noting that these objects are the narrative-based symbols of a plastic language, the artist thinks that he has caught a style of his own which can be reached today by a renewal through plastic and speculative changes. He also discussed his objects on canvas: "They are the virtual reflections of my own aspirations and passions in an artistic world I have created. Surely, they are also the expression of the subconscious and the fact that the reality of experiences will never be the same again."

The artist has been featured in many national and international museums, institutions and special collections to date. When you consider that creating a unique style is never easy, you will observe his works with astonishment. Introduced to art as a child, his journey in this field is a sweet and engaging story to hear. In line with his narration, their upstairs neighbor was a painter coming from Istanbul to Mersin province. Before primary school, he went to galleries and workshops with him. After starting school, he, like all ordinary students, decided he wanted to be a doctor or footballer. However, he received fine art training with the direction of his teachers. He attended workshops by famous artists like Nuri Abaç and Ernur Tüzün. These were all the foundation stones he laid to prepare a unique pathway for himself in the art world.

Although he follows contemporary art movements in Turkey and across the world, he has never given up on his own truth. For many years, he has continued to reflect his longings, passions, excitement, feelings, thoughts, pain and happiness on canvas. He asserts that this is what has developed his talent and presented this narrative language to him. The artist sees contemporary art movements as an element that will limit his art within a categorical frame. As he does not want to be defined, he said, "Art enthusiasts will put me in a place by tracing my artistic adventure."

High on life

It is natural that artists want to be remembered for their styles and identity. Accepting that he also has such a desire, Yeşil mentioned that the art of painting was the best means of expression for him. "There has never been a moment or a period that I can describe as challenging in my occupation. Painting and art are a lifestyle and a tempo for me. My workshop is always busy. Students, artists, art-loving friends also visit me because I have 5,000-6,000 books and an artistic archive. I help those who want to benefit from them. However, my work tempo never falls; my life and biological rhythms are used to it. My daily sleep does not exceed three hours."

Starting with his first exhibition in 1979, Yeşil has been dealing with art actively for 40 years. When he is out of his workshop, he usually attends significant art events and visits museums and galleries. This prolific artist has opened 130 solo exhibitions to date and participated in 300 group and competition exhibitions. Presented with 24 awards so far, he is an artist who continuously works without making any concessions on his principles. "If I do not work, I search and follow the culture-art agenda in Turkey and the world. I also draw patterns and read books from my library consisting of 5,000-6,000 works," he added.

Diving into metaphors

In his latest exhibition "Sesler ve İzler" ("Voices and Marks"), Yeşil tries to multiply his own reality with the belief that to search is a rebellion against life, by leaving the traces of his life in the unknown gaps in eternity. According to American psychologist Rollo May, an intense encounter is necessary for a creative process. Yeşil thinks that an artist's problems in life are these necessary encounters. "After the moment of encounter, the artist enters the creative process and reveals the answers to his or her questions with his/her language in the poetic, audio, plastic and dramatic sense."

Creating something is an act requiring encouragement and the imagination that an artist offers with an original language recreated through the eyes of the observers. Every trace of the creation multiplies with the audience. When art lovers examine Yeşil's works presenting ropes and threads from various angles with diverse metaphors, they will interpret different meanings in all of them. While one can see the reconstruction of the artist's own reality, the other can witness the transformation of these objects into some essences in an abstract performance. As Yeşil has noted, to tamper with a work of art is to take risks. Therefore, the eyes commenting on the deepness of this unique artist's works can also expect to bear a heavy burden. The abstract artist's show will be on display at Gallery Diani until Nov. 9. Those who want to embark on the artist's 40-year journey and follow briefly in his footsteps should not miss the chance to visit it.

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