Halil Akdeniz | Selected Bio Texts
Personal Notes By The Artist Concerning His Work - Note-I
Painting, in my view, should be an ongoing process of exploration, and I have tried to follow this principle throughout my career. While probing the underpinnigs of what exists in art, I also was involved in a quest for the new, and thus tried out various new techniques and forms of visual expression.
Based on attitude toward problems and on methods of working, the years from 1964 to the 1990s can be divided into two periods, 1964-70 and post-1970.
In the first of this my works at the outset were drawings from nature and models, or they were studies, abstractions from nature and the like; but as the years advanced a more abstact - expressionist tendency gained sway. An exuberant, spirited use of paint and color were the hallmarks of this period.
After 1970 there are two distinct phases, starting with 1970-78 when I engaged in many experiments fot the purpose of enriching the artistic principles that underlie my work. In time the relationships among elements became more solidly grounded, sometimes being purely numerical in nature. Certain paintings from these years bear the titles “Outer Space” and “On Space”. Here the idea of space, without recourse perspective, depends on the physical fact of the canvas, with large areas and proportional effects linked to relationships among variously weighted values. This was a time of intense exploration, which saw a reduction in pictorial elements, an urging toward greater spareness.
The period after 1978, bolstered by research and observation, dealt with problems of the environment. In works from this period, environmental data are observations and research used not merely as material for the paintings, bur appear as actual “quotations” from the external world. In two series, entitled “Visual Treatments Of The Pollution In The Gulf Of İzmir” and “Visual Notes From İzmir”, there are “quotations”, drawings, scientific objects, symbols, recognizable signs and artistic forms, all sharing the same canvasses. These elements, each of what by itself has a meaning and raison d’étre, are also, in the abstact formal composition of the works, broadly allusive anda are bound up in a relationship between the abstract and the concrete. In these paintings we find a second canvas (the sizes vary) applied to the first. The two planes of expression of two canvasses, one upon the other, include the distinctions implied by their physical existence. Neither the drawings on the planes, however, nor the signs of objects are in their usual setting. Observations and data related to the topic are not completed or “used up” in the framework of a meaning, but rather generate artistic and intellectual entities. This period of my career is generally assessed in terms of Concept Art. (Amelia Pavel, Romania Literaria, June 20, 1985)
My paintings after 1985 use historical environmental-cultural material in a more spesific way. At first the source was mainly Ephesus, near İzmir; but in later years the scope took in other cultures in the landscape of Anatolia.
I am drawn to the details of life, to what has been experienced; the mystery of signs and symbols which have come down to us from the past. In my works of this period, the viewer is confronted by this sort of sign and symbol, calling to him from the past, but also by metallic-looking triangular signs - of the sort that might pop up anywhere with a warning (stop; beware) - and these occupy the same plane as those ancient markings. The goal is to put the viewer into relationships with the past and present, relationships with the past and present, relationships which are directed at providing an awareness of “the now” and “beyond the now”. This side of my approach is oriented toward the viewer. From the artistic standpoint, my works are permanently open to problematics. Among the elements making up a painting there are objects from the external world, and “quotations” open to various interpretations. All of these works are executed with a technique like that of concept art. In my view, technique is more than just the use of materials and the application of knowledge related to this; it is also a part of the process which takes in the stages involved in giving form to artistic thought. It is during this process that the artist will come to techniques and forms of expression that are peculiarly his. There is a broad range of techniques in these works, including pencil, paint, line and color. None is a preparatory stage for the other; there is no hierarchy among the elements and values in these pictures. The techniques develop toward a style outside that of traditional painting, calling on non-artistic elements and interdisciplinary interests, as well as experimentation. The guiding criteria in my work emerge from my explorations into art.