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b. 1978, Turkey

Yesim Akdeniz Biography

Yesim Akdeniz paints fictive landscapes and interiors sparsely populated with a considered selection of objects and figures that have been severed from their original or natural settings.  The participants depicted in the  foreground are an esoteric ensemble that span from actors to recognisable elements from the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s, from George Ivanovich Gurdjieff’s esoteric vision of the development of man to much more prosaic household objects. The paintings are not portrayals of reality nor do they tell a story in a linier fashion, instead, with juxtaposed elements arranged in the foreground, they are reminiscent of stills from a film set or theatrical production.

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Akdeniz’s use of visually distorted pictorial spaces, decontextualized subjects, a muted palette, and the prevalence of smooth and undetailed surfaces evokes the work of Italian proto-surrealist painter Giorgio De-Chirico.  Her subjects’ become symbols or reference points sown together to create a montage scene of references to contemporary culture. In Mr Jung and Me #1 [2014], a leopard, possibly stuffed possibly alive, balances on a log that is balanced on a table, while a partially concealed female peers at the viewer from behind a curtain. In Latent #1 [2013] two barely clothed women sit at a table in a cramped room, one slouched one upright but both looking directly at the viewer, while a conspicuously stiff and lifeless pair or legs protrude from behind them.  These enigmatic compositions of cryptic visual language are open to be deciphered by attentive viewers who can unpick their points of reference.

Akdeniz’s paintings are visually striking yet she describes herself as a conceptual painter due to the important role of analysis within her work as well as her creation of painting series that are interlinked by an underlying concept. By creating connections and associations through these juxtapositions and tracing connections between elements not normally connected, she creates moments of difficulty for her audience when understanding stops and thinking and knowledge meet a challenge.

Text courtesy Pi Artworks.

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