ISTANBUL - Sotheby's is staging an exhibition of highlights from its forthcoming London sale of Contemporary Turkish Art in Turkey. The exhibition will take place on the 4th April at the Marmara Esma Sultan Yalisi in Ortakoy and will be open to the public from 11:00am, showcasing 14 spectacular artworks by some of Turkey’s leading modern and contemporary artists. The artworks will be sold in London on 26th April 2012, during ‘Sotheby’s Turkish and Islamic Week: Classical to Contemporary’.
Discussing the exhibition in Istanbul, Elif Bayoğlu, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Turkish Art Sale, said: “We are delighted to bring an exciting selection of modern and contemporary art by some of Turkey’s finest and most innovative artists to Istanbul, for our Turkey-based collectors and clients to preview before the auction. From painting to embroidery, sculpture to collage, photography to installation, the quality and diversity of the works we are exhibiting are a testament to the creativity and talent of Turkish artists. The sale in London on 26th April will be an exciting event and we are honoured to be selling this fine selection of works at Sotheby’s.”
Akbank Executive Vice President in charge of Private Banking, Saltik Galatali, commented: “Art transcends borders and unites people. It fosters creativity, thereby unleashes innovation and progress. That’s why Akbank Private Banking is committed to engaging society with the inspiring and perspective developing world of contemporary art. We take pride in organising and supporting the projects that connect finance sector and the world of culture and arts. We’re glad to support this sneak peek once again this year, which brings together the privileged works of the leading contemporary Turkish artists with Turkish art lovers, as we did in the past four years. Our support to contemporary art and artists will continue growing.”
The most recent work by the Turkish photorealist painter Taner Ceylan, Cage of Flesh (Ten Kafesi) is an exceptional work which engages with the politics and the erotics of representation in Orientalist painting by confronting the viewer with a re-imagined figure of an odalisque. Ceylan envisions the woman’s own body as a cage in which she is trapped. In contrast to the male eroticisation of the odalisque’s body as a beautiful, smooth and sensual flesh, Ceylan’s work poignantly highlights the status of the “Oriental” woman as silenced, oppressed, submissive and deprived of her individuality. The most recent work to be created by the artist, it has never been seen on the market before and is expected to prompt bidders from around the world to compete. This exceptional oil on canvas painting carries an estimate of £100,000 – 150,000.
Bathsheba by Azade Köker is a beautiful work which repositions the Biblical story of Bathsheba, a mistress of Uriah who was seduced by King David and gave birth to the powerful leader Solomon from her marriage. In this work, Köker once again takes inspiration from the Old Masters and the well-known painting with the same subject painted by Lucas Cranach. A renowned academic, Köker has worked with paper throughout her career and similarly in this work, she uses chemically altered photographic paper and tears them into pieces to give them a new form by recombining them into a collage. The work is estimated at £45,000 – 55,000.
Guns of War II (from the Guns of War series) by Ansen Atilla is a vivid photographic print focusing on the Ottoman Empire’s practice of devshirme, which trained children for important military or academic roles. Ansen focuses on the young boys’ strength and enviable might during a unique moment in their training within one of the most important institutions which changed the structure of the Ottoman Empire. Ansen’s incredible technique of seamlessly morphing painting, photography and sculpture into one colossal work establishes him once again as an innovator and a commentator on cross-cultural themes. This exciting and profound masterpiece is estimated at £25,000 – 30,000.
Ramazan Bayrakoglu’s Motorsiklet (2012) is an embroidery on canvas estimated at £15,000 – 20,000. One of the most important Turkish artists and academics of our day, Ramazan Bayrakoglu constantly experiments with different media and subjects. Painstakingly building up images with embroidery on coloured satin, he transfers these onto cloth and creates a topography of needlework across its surface. Exhibited in prestigious shows around the world, Bayrakoglu’s works are rare to come by and Motorsiklet (Motorcycle), with its colour scheme, the exquisite detail and its three dimensional aspect demonstrates his extraordinary talent in merging design, craftwork and embroidery.
Ferit Iscan’s Untitled (1960), is a rare masterpiece by one of the most important Turkish École de Paris artists and is among the artist’s earliest abstract works. This work has never been on the market before and comes from the artist’s family’s private collection. The vibrant colours against a white background, the beautiful balanced composition, and the outstanding technique of the artist as well as the immaculate condition of the work has established him as one of the leading École de Paris artists alongside Mubin Orhon, Selim Turan, Albert Bitran and Nejad Devrim. The work is estimated at £10,000-15,000 and is a true collector’s item.
Composition by Ali Teoman Germaner (known as Alos) is an oil on canvas estimated at £5,000 – 7,000. Painted in 1960, it draws elements from his visits to the Ancient Eastern Archaeological Museum in Istanbul where he used to marvel at the Mesopotamian seals and tables, later on transferring this vocabulary onto his paintings. The repetition of primitive forms throughout the canvas strengthened by the contrast of bright colours, like yellows and oranges, lend an earthy feel and evoke the image of a seal or a relief on an important document from the ancient times. It is his mastery in reinterpreting ancient Mesopotamian and Assyrian reliefs through contemporary materials, impeccable technique and unique expressions which establish Alos as one of the founding fathers of modern Turkish art.
Untitled by Ihsan Cemal Karaburcak, estimated at £25,000 – 35,000, is an exceptionally important work, exhibited at the artist’s retrospective at the Pera Museum in Istanbul in 2011 and which belongs to the artist’s family’s personal collection. An autodidactic artist, Karaburcak created paintings which merge his knowledge of mathematics and the Mors alphabet with his unique choice of colours. Karaburcak’s work became more abstract towards the later part of his artistic career when he also preferred to use darker tonalities and more symbolic shapes and forms. Untitled is also significant as it embodies the characteristics that came to define his oeuvre such as the apparent dominance of Karaburcak ‘purple’, the coded shapes and the pictorial language invented by the artist and the beautiful balance of colours and forms within the composition. Painted over a period of eleven years, it is an important and rare work by this self-taught Turkish artist.
Glitch III (from the Glitch series) by Canan Tolon is one of the greatest examples from this well-known and internationally acclaimed series. Trained as an architect, this work carries the traces of Tolon’s studies as the complex structure of the painting tempts the viewer to look closer to see if there is an architectural monument or a portrait hidden between the multiple layers of paint and colour. Commenting on the overload of information in our daily lives caused by recent technological advancements, the artist believes through time, this will cause a ‘glitch’, a temporary malfunction and a breakdown in our brains. Coming from a prominent international collection, Glitch III is an early work dated 2007 and is estimated at £25,000 – 35,000.
Haluk Akakçe’s Untitled, a wood and mirror work, explores the notion of constant transformation and a sense of uncertainty. Covered in mirrors which are broken up by painted wood, the piece causes distorted and varied reflections at every angle, allowing the viewer to completely immerse himself into Akakçe's world of proportion, perspective and light. A testament to the variety of works that this internationally established artist creates from installation to painting and video to performance, this extremely rare and beautifully executed piece is estimated at £20,000 – 30,000.
Untitled by Ali Teoman Germaner, known as Alos, is one of the artist’s most important and impressive sculptures from the early period of his career. It is a unique work created in 1950s, when Turkey was not importing or exporting iron. Artists like Alos would buy scrap metal from flea markets and create sculptures by melding the scraps together. Untitled represents this time of experimentation, exploration and adaptation of new concepts to Turkish art, while highlighting Alos’ talent for transforming solid metal into three-dimensional, abstract and dynamic sculptures. The work is estimated at £10,000 – 15,000.