International exhibitions Murat Akagündüz, Hell-Heaven, Galeri Manâ, Istanbul

International 2012 Archives

Murat Akagündüz, Hell-Heaven
Galeri Manâ, Istanbul (Turquey)

16.03 - 28.04.2012

07.09 - 25.11.2012

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Press release

Galeri Manâ is pleased to announce Hell-Heaven, its first solo exhibition with the artist Murat Akagündüz. Akagündüz's paintings of Anatolia revisit the genre of landscape painting, which has had a long history in this very same geography. Created using only resin on canvas, the brown tones in these paintings recall sepia photographs at first glance. A strange balance between familiarity and remoteness is to be found in the imagery of these landscapes. Akagündüz's works celebrate and question the medium of painting simultaneously. While his paintings carry a romantic intention and manifest painterly expressionism and subjectivity, they also contain documentative objectivity and bluntness. As such, they draw references with different movements in the history of painting from Orientalism to Romanticism and later to modernist as well as postmodernist sensibilities.

The paintings in this exhibition were created after the artist's many trips through Anatolia. They are the remnants of his memories, recreated with the help of sketches made and photographs taken during his travels. The paintings all depict real places, some more obvious than others. Perfectionism is not pursued in representation; instead the materials of the painting take over. In some works, representation begins to border on abstraction.

Akagündüz's two Turabdin paintings, near the Mesopotamian border depict and document a certain landscape: the view from Deyrülzafaran (also known as the Saffron Monastery). The two landscapes hang side by side and their horizons almost connect; the gap between them is left to the imagination of the viewer. Another work portrays the Byzantine ruins of Ani in the northeast Anatolian city of Kars. As such the geography of the landscape takes precedence over the manmade structures and the ruins appear to be barely discernible at the center of the canvas. Alternatively Island-Continent I and II are allover landscapes of only rocks, bordering on abstraction.

Akagündüz juxtaposes his landscape paintings with a video installation, hence disclosing the paradoxical relationship between the digital images versus the painted. Hell-Heaven, the title work of the exhibition, features a large projection of the murky running waters of the river Euphrates, the main water source of Mesopotamia for centuries. 15 small monitors, scattered in front of this projection, depict individually the eyes of the different species of birds that compose the fauna of Anatolia. A video work, documentary and almost scientific in nature; it is the starting point of the series and sets the backdrop and tone for the paintings themselves. Indeed Akagündüz directs the gaze of the viewer, through the gaze of the birds back to the paintings, into the landscapes he has chosen to portray.

Exhibition 16 March - 28 April 2012. Galeri Manâ, Kemankes Mah, Alipasa Degirmen Sok n°16 - 34425 Beyoglu Istanbul. Tel.: +90 212 43 66 66. Opening hours : Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm.

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2012. All Rights Reserved