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Over the last few years, Galerie Paris-Beijing has been exploring the axis linking Europe to Asia, Paris to Beijing. On its way it knew precisely where to stop: Turkey, a country where the two continents meet. Since the beginning of the century, Istanbul has become a platform for a both innovating and dynamic art scene, of which Mehmet Ali Uysal is undoubtedly one of the most respected figures.
Can we represent time? Can we stop it, freeze it in an instant? Do we perceive space correctly These unsolvable, metaphysical questions often cross our minds when facing a work of art. Uysal’s artistic practice gives perceptible existence to those thoughts. What role exactly does the artist play, in the process of creating an artwork? Such as Don Quixote facing the windmills, he defies the laws of nature through his sculptures, videos and installations. He materializes notions that are theoretically impossible to represent. He twists, shapes, distorts reality, bringing it beyond its boundaries. He offers concrete solutions to abstract problems.
The artist is renowned for his ability to subvert time and space : “Space, as we perceive it, is an illusion, he says. Our eyes only allow us to reconstitute reality in two dimensions, and it is through movement that we grasp the third one. Space is not really something we can see. We feel it”.
His large-scale installations are shaped from the specificity of each environment they are created for, hence deconstructing our preconceptions. Starting with an allegory, a crashed airplane, this exhibition takes us on another planet, defies our perception of the world, its weight, gravitation, matter, finally revealing itself for what it truly is. We are no longer lured by our senses, as if this well-known sixth one (kinesthesia as scientists call it) was added to the five canonical ones. This more suitable form of sensitivity that the artist creates allows us to feel everything around us.
With the Peel series (2012) the gallery walls became the artwork. Here Uysal goes one step further: the gallery space becomes the author. The artist steps aside to let the walls, their materials, the specific setting of the space express themselves.
This exhibition is also a tribute to the artist’s relationship with France, a country he knows well. It can be seen as a subtle and irreverent homage to Cartesianism. In 2008, Mehmet Ali Uysal was artist-in-residence at the Cité International des Arts. He exhibited a large-scale installation in Lorraine (Skin, Vent des forêts).