HALIL AKDENIZ | Personal Notes By The Artist Concerning His Works
Personal Notes By The Artist Concerning His Works - 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 1990's 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 abstract -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 underline my work. In time of 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 Izmir” and “Visual Notes From Izmir”, 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 abstract 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.
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.
Halil Akdeniz was born in 1944 in Antalya, Turkey. He studied for a Bachelor’s degree and for specialized training at the Gazi Institute of Education, Department of Fine Arts Training in Ankara and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin – HdK, Berlin ( now the University of the Arts, Berlin ). He received his Master’s degree, proficiency in Fine Arts, and a PhD at the Aegean University, and at Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir. He became an assistant professor in 1986, associate professor in 1987, and professor in 1994. He worked as instructor at the Gazi Institute of Education (now Gazi University) in Ankara, the Aegean University, Dokuz Eylul University, Bilkent University, and Anadolu University. He founded the departments of Fine Arts at the Aegean, Dokuz Eylul, and Bilkent Universities. He worked in various positions at these universities ranging from department chairmanship to membership in faculty committees, university senates and university administrative committees. He served as cultural adviser in the Turkish Embassies in Bonn and Berlin between 1996-2000, and as adviser in the Turkish Ministry of Culture in 2001. He worked as instructor at Anadolu University, Faculty of Fine Arts between 2001-2005. He founded the Department of Art Sciences – a first in Turkey – within the Graduate School of Social Sciences of Anadolu University, and started the Program in Fine Arts Theory and Criticism (2003). He currently works in Istanbul at the Işık University School of Fine Arts.
Halil Akdeniz is known in Contemporary Turkish Art through his art and his research writings. Begun around 1978 and in the 1980s, with series such as “Visual Treatments of the Pollution in the Gulf of Izmir”, his artistic analyses, based on scholarly research concerning problems of the physical environments where he lived, continued with Ephesus, “Izmir – Visual Notes from the Ruins” and concentrate, in series encompassing different cultural regions, on Anatolian Civilizations – Intercultural; Anatolian Civilizations – Cultural Environment; Anatolian Civilizations – Cultural Logos; and Anatolian Civilizations – Cultural Remains. Produced during this process, his work includes contemporary interpretations and artistic solutions using both artistic and extra-artistic elements and has been entered in many national and international exhibitions, biennales, triennials, art fairs, and museum exhibitions. He has received awards in many competitions, both national and international, including the gold medal First Prize at the Bulgaria 1st International Modern Art Festival – “process-space”. He was chosen as an artist for the "Artistic Use of Interior Spaces Project" in the Republic of Turkey Presidential Residence New Building, realizing a work called "Anatolian Civilizations-Intercultural" on the Library wall. His works are held in various museums and collections in Turkey and abroad. Besides two books on Turkish art and artists and articles in catalogues, Akdeniz has written many scholarly publications, research writings, papers, and articles.
Halil Akdeniz is also member of the UNESCO-AIAP International Association for the Plastic Arts and served as Chair of its Turkish National Committee, Representation in Ankara for a time. He is member of the UNESCO-AICA International Association of Art Critics, founding member of the Turkish National Committee of AICA, and was granted honorary citizenship and is honorary member of Art Academy Münster