The formative teenage years of Erinç Seymen coincided with drastic
shifts that re-shaped Turkish society: the dispersal of isolationist
politics of nationalism and Cold War; fierce challenges to longestablished cultural taboos, upheld by the Republic; rapid economic
growth; and a drastic transformation of the artistic field.
Despite his deep and studious devotion to the history of painting
and his attachment to painterly finesse Seymen distanced himself
from the anachronisms of the local art scene and the conservatism
imposed by the academy he was studying in. He became one of the
leading figures of a generation of artists who set out to elaborate a
conceptualist, post-painterly approach to painting, along with an
affiliation to the recently expanding field of contemporary art. In
order to process a more expansive conception of the notion of image,
Seymen appealed to the lexicons of photography, cinematography and
digital iconography, and refined a painterly language that is based on
minimalist colourism and reductionist use of figuration. In time, he
developed a holistic approach in his exhibition making by conceiving
thematic links between exhibits, using instructive titles, and forming
an encapsulating atmospheric effect via lightening, colour choice to
be implemented onto gallery walls and soundtrack that is composed
by himself. In line with his urge to expand his expressional toolbox,
Seymen also produced works that made use of sculptural forms,
performance and video recording. His recent drawings, extremely
detailed and painfully laborious (perhaps a side-effect of his study on
the work of the performing artist Bob Flanagan in his master degree
dissertation) -- quite different from the minimalism of the earlier
pieces -- hint at the artist’s restless search for change and his reaction
against the prevailing epidemic of creative stasis.
It is hard to dissociate Seymen’s formal experimentalism and holistic
approach from the thematic range of his works. From his very early
pieces onward the artist’s fascination with relations between human
beings operated as the leading and binding motive within his content.
Laden with psychoanalytic implications on compassion and repulsion,
his compositions pursued a divergence from conciliatory and conformist
conceptions on intra-human relations and accentuating unsolvable
complications and ambiguities: enigmatic turbulences between infants
and parents, between lovers, S&M couples, between members of youth
gangs. Seymen’s engagement with digging into the darker depths
of the human psyche brought in a tendency towards transgression;
production of images that are meant to instantly shock, disturb and
rebuke the audience. This satyr-like self-positioning of the artist has
been slightly suspended in favour of a critical distance along with the
gradually increasing emphasis he has put onto the political implications
of the will of power. Methods of subjugation devised by institutions
of modernity; exclusionary politics of militarism, nationalism and
heterosexuality; normalisation of violence and its infusion into the
texture of daily life; intensification of various sorts of hate speech;
and new regimes of sterilisation and control regulated by capital and
technology are fields on which Seymen’s criticality does operate -not
merely as a catalogue of defects of ideologies but as an indicator of the
ways in which they delicately interlace with each other.
Erd en Kosova
Erinç Seymen works with multiple media and diverse formats such
as painting, drawing, sculpture, video, performance, and electroacoustic music. In some cases his work finds its own path and medium,
and in other cases the media itself plays an important role in the
process of developing a work. Portrait of Pasha (2009) formed by the
bullet holes exemplifies this working methodology. At the same time,
Seymen experiments with diverse formats. We see this trialing in
Butterfly Bomb (2008), which consists of a hand grenade and wings,
as it first appeared as embroidery. Then it became an object. Likewise,
Homo Ludens appeared as a painting (2008), then transformed into
an object (2010).
His working process is nurtured through scientific publications,
educational archives, and art history/literature. Yet his works always
need time to mature to find their final shapes.
There is consistency in Seymen’s work in that he never repeats the
same format or style and therefore has never developed an individual
aesthetic style. He sees this as an advantage in encouraging his will
to produce.
Başak Şen ova
Erinç Seymen (İstanbul, 1980) graduated from Mimar Sinan University
of Fine Arts, Painting Department in 2006 and received his MA from
Yıldız Teknik University Art and Design Faculty, with a thesis about
Bob Flanagan. He participated in conferences and his articles has
been published in various magazines on topics such as militarism,
nationalism and gender issues.
Since 2002, he has participated in several solo and group exhibitions
in İstanbul, Ankara, Vienna, Paris, London, Helsinki, Eindhoven and
Lisbon. The group exhibitions he participated in are: “Along the Gates
of Urban”, K&S Galerie, Berlin (2004); “An Atlas of Events”, Foundation
Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2007); “I Myself am War!”, Open Space,
Vienna (2008); “İstanbul, traversée”, Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille,
Lille (2009); “Moods: A Generation that Goes off the Rails”, Ecole
Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2010).
Erinç Seymen lives and works in İstanbul.
Edited by Başak Şen ova · Designed by 1 2punto.net

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