A Turkish Artist Advocates for Mountains

“The objective of art is to express our views, thoughts, and feelings about ourselves and the world we live in,” says Burcu Perçin; and on the occasion of her ninth solo exhibition, the formidable Turkish artist advocates for mountains. Frequently in pursuit of unearthing human interventions in nature and the increasingly globalized world, in her newest show, “Mountains Have No Owners,” at art ON Istanbul, Perçin homes in on mines and quarries, remnants of once-monumental environments. “In this series, I’m dealing with the issue of mountains being turned into a tool to get unearned income,” she explains. At once drawing attention to the destruction of nature and a capitalist regime, this new series builds upon her unique, painterly style, in intricate, layered compositions that speak to her passion for activist art, and a keen sensibility for visual aesthetics.

Though she draws inspiration from Social Realist artists in Turkey in the 1960’s and ’70s, Perçin’s works are the result of a more conceptual approach. Her process begins with photography, in this case at local sites in Turkey; she uses these images to build collages and reimagine the original landscapes. Her paintings are the result of these collages, which, up close, evidence her intricate, layered technique, where she applies small, intentional markings, and smooth swathes of color to aptly render broken surfaces and glossy planes. She explains: “The visuality this subject brings adds geometric and sculptural forms to my works and leads me look for further formal pursuit.”

As is the case in other recent projects, Perçin develops this series, about the detriment of human interference, in spaces devoid of humans. “In my works, even when I do not use the human figure directly, there are always definitions and traces referring to human nature and lifestyle,” she explains; in this case, sliced up chunks of stone with numeric markings or graffiti, trucks, and cranes serve as these traces. Each work a carefully calculated visual discourse, Perçin succeeds in creating visually stunning works that evoke the sad truths of the actual sites of excavation, or rather, ruin.

Mountains Have No Owners,” is on view at art on Istanbul, Apr. 15th–May 24th, 2014.

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