PAINTER & SCULPTOR OF WOMAN & PEACE:
A "Bodrum" Interview by Buket SAHIN
"An experienced artist will keep at a distance from his success. He will not let it predominate his work. Because success is conservative and stagnant. It is a plot against the development of an artist. An artist will not give up his freedom for that." Orhan TAYLAN
I have this unspeakable passion on Taylan's colors - seems to me that he has a great sensitivity to color.( I certainly feel his colors are very dominantly soft, yet romantic. I understand that he uses a mixture of representational and abstract styles by using oil colors on a simple acrylic base with a special brush… Honestly, the blues & shades of redness touch me quite deeply and awake all my wonderful memories from my last trip in Spring - 2002 to Bodrum's fish villages on Aegean coast where I had the privilege to visit his workshop.. I can secretly peek at his workshop in the back of his house and say that one of the things he is doing passionately is painting, in a way, to balance the conditions surrounding us in which we lose our "ordinary lives – as he does on his each morning & night in Bodrum days, whether picking up his fresh fish from a neighboring bay with his innocent looking but mighty boat or simply pouring his glass of raki under his grapevined garden cardak with utmost breathtaking view of Aegean Sea and not surprisingly accompanied with balladic songs of Thesalloniki.. ." I am trying to elaborate on his note, "Where exactly is the mystery of a painting hidden? In the painting or in the painter?".. and I silently agree that some things cannot be communicated with lengthy explanations and are best left unspoken.
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- You started a controversial debate regarding the painter's pricing of his works should be same whether purchased from his own workshop or from a privately owned gallery… What are the biggest challenges you face each day as an artist in today's politically & economically challenged Turkey, specially on verge of documentary painting?
Since the military coup in 1980, we have been facing the nationalist and with the last form of government is a Islamic governments. These conditions forced me and the artists sharing my political view, to stay away from government supported organizations, official galleries run by Minister of Culture, various private organizations and TV art-shows favoring political view of these governments ..
Due to my reputation, they are not interested in my works neither! But, at the end, this conflict creates limitations on my professionalism, but at the same time it helps me focusing as an active alternative artist in a constantly producing art environment.
- How does your artistic expression help with those challenges?
- Unless there are dramatic conditions such as being in a war; I try not to exaggerate the atmosphere of my paintings. I try not to be overly dominated and carried away with such extremes except conditions like being in a war.. I try to sensitize my work atmosphere and not being influenced by any potential temporary conditions. Yes, I want my works to be democratic & alternative, yet remain intellect and prevail as cooler heads..
- Historically, paintings depict illusionary themes, such as landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes or figurative images. At one time paintings were being referred to as windows to the world. Your paintings invite the viewer to enter into female body and reach beyond their illusions. In a sense, they are more like a Looking Glass than windows. In your Gallery booklet, you mentioned that your mentors are the masters from the culture that you grew up in, not necessarily the acclaimed art masters of Europe. If you could meet any artist alive or dead, who would you choose?
- I'd say Jackson Pollock. He had quite intense connections with Mexican leading artists and then was influenced from Picasso, and other European painters post the famous drippings period. However, I believe there is a big drama for why he returned back to his further searches on design. It would be so wonderful to chat all about this with him and open a bottle of whiskey.
- What are your thoughts on contemporary art? Who will have an influence in 100 years time?
- Art history contents many periods. Some reached their peak levels for maybe twenty-thirty years but then gradually disappeared. I believe that the move we name 'Contemporary' will be one-day remembered as a deviance as well. Let me be clear on this comment by framing it within its political boundaries. Contemporary art is another form of hostile takeover in world of art through globalism and monopolization of international corporate governance in our modern days. This governance has been creating a GLOBAL art environment that can be easily manipulated and directed through the curators of Art-Gallery ownership's controlled and chosen by corporate holding incorporations which as a result lost its interaction & connection with intellectuals and sincere art loving public. I believe that eventually this manipulated and hostile situation will be replaced by a truly democratic-global art environment...
- Which one came first? Your initial art discipline was painting and later experimented in Sculpture. Your career has spanned many different mediums - painting, design, revolutionary poster publishing, sculpture - which do you prefer to work in mostly? And, how did you develop such a diverse creative background?
- Neither in Eastern Art, nor in pre-renaissance European Art; artists did not limit their works just with painting or sculpturing . Generally speaking, an intellect artist can not limit himself with any form of art. Any well-educated artist will interact with politics, science, physics as well as art itself and will keep creating. Isn't this the most natural and awesome result of being an artist? I believe that human being's curiosity and talents has no limits and therefore I also use different mediums of art, not only limited to one kind of technique or use of material.
- Excitingly, I've noticed a number of references to breathing in your paintings. The matter of breathing is something to be understood.I feel some of your paintings are like form of praying for female body! Another phrase of yours I've made a note of is "Mysteries of lives lived in our bodies." That part, "lived in our bodies" ˜I find that very interesting. All that "sculpting the body," and so on, I'd say it reflects the obsession with surfaces you mentioned earlier and not really an interest in the body itself, strangely enough. Certainly not being present in the body, as you say. (or am I speculating?) And when I think about it as you're talking...what model do we have in our society that would lead us toward ourselves in the way you're speaking about..? I think these things are not easy to articulate. Which leads me to this question: What is it that painting can do that words can't?
- This is the hardest "QUESTION" I've been ever asked in my life! Due to its challenging content, I will not easily pass on it. (However, I have to work more on this question later on). Words can create strong images in our brains that never existed before. However, the paintings will enrich and add new meanings to these unclear images existing visually in our dreams, memories and fantasies. This is all I can say for now regarding this question that actually I could write a book on it. I am thankful to you for providing me such an interesting questionnaire..
- Thank You, Mr. Taylan.