WHY DO THE POETS PAINT? NEW WAYS OF EXISTENCE ABOUT “IN-BETWEEN” STANCES
The exhibition focuses on the overlapping expressions between poetry and painting – poet and painter, and the in-between stances between the image of writing and the image of line – color, and brings together the works of 15 artists who are known as poets but are also masters in painting.
Curated by Dr. Necmi Sönmez and designed by Ulaş Uğur, the exhibition presents the works of artists starting from the 1890s with Tevfik Fikret, such as Arif Dino, Nazım Hikmet, Oktay Rifat, İlhan Berk, Metin Eloğlu, Cemal Süreya, Oruç Aruoba, Sami Baydar, who are celebrated names in our literary history and works of the contemporary generation such as Lale Müldür, Engin Turgut, Zafer Şenocak, Turgay Kantürk, Anita Sezgener and Hicran Aslan.
“There is a multi-layered memory of doodles, scribbles, sketches, collages, patterns, pictograms, paintings, sculptures, photographs and ceramics created by the poets starting from 1890s with Tevfik Fikret, whose number is close to five hundred today with Anita Sezgener. According to Abidin Dino, this visual memory, which has the character of a “delilah” no matter how one looks at it, was formed “because poets are more daring than painters”.
While visual artists in our country accepted a “passive stance” as a
form of existence for cultural, economic and political reasons until
1945, some of the poets, from Tevfik Fikret to Nâzım Hikmet,
developed an “active, questioning, political” stance. Thus,
Modernist poetry opened its eyes before Modernist painting.
The predisposition of Nâzım Hikmet, Arif Dino and the following Garip poets to painting and drawing, not only nurtured their poems, but also gave them the opportunity to apply the forms of the new and the different in an early period. It is a necessity to mention two prominent creative figures here, who came to the fore in the 1950s, when poetry dissolved as a visual image and tried new forms of existence with the participation of lines and colors as well as words. The first of these is Metin Eloğlu, who made a name for himself with his poems although he received painting education, and the other is İlhan Berk, who took drawing from the monopoly of painters and placed it at the center of different sensitivities. Oktay Rıfat, Cemal Süreya and İlhan Berk, who shaped the Second New movement, actively drew and painted. Works developed by poets like Edip Cansever and Turgut Uyar in collaboration with visual artists strengthened Local Modernism.
It is an imperative to underline that it does not matter whether the works of a young generation who have entered into different experiments by using the returns of both words and visuality simultaneously in today’s image production, would be presented in book format, exhibition scale or on a digital platform. While the creative processes and forms are changing, it seems like we have to make a decision for ourselves by looking at the content of the work we come across instead of dealing with frameworks, definitions and techniques. This exhibition offers a memory refresh by bringing together the in-between, mid-point works constructed with such poetic efforts.”
Dr. Necmi Sönmez