For Untitled, 2017, Galerist presents a solo presentation of a specially conceived body of paintings by Rasim Askan, curated by Nick Hackworth.
Rasim Aksan (b. 1984) is one of the leading Turkish artists of his generation. His work comprises of impressively executed photorealist paintings and drawings, ranging from miniature to large in scale, that draw upon popular culture for their material and subject matter. The process of selection, editing and reconfiguration of source material into his finished artworks is as central to the works’ meaning and expressive qualities as their physical execution. As well as drawing on the vast, ever changing, data-stream of images in the digital world, Aksan also uses a personal archive he maintains of personal photographs ranging from simple records of everyday life to images of an erotic and sexual nature, most often culled from social media – products of the intersection of technology and a primal, human drive.
Over a series of three solo shows at Galerist since 2012, Aksan has explored the visual culture of soldiers and conscripts in the Turkish military, an acute and absurd conflation of selfie culture with images of sacrificial animals and the pseudo-clichéd connection between depictions of fruit and flowers and female genitalia.
In ‘Polaroids’ a project especially conceived for Untitled, 2017, Aksan, will present a series of large-scale, immaculately produced, photorealistic paintings, alongside a number of small colour-pencil drawings. The works will draw on a carefully selected number of Polaroids and images of Polaroids, collected by Aksan. Drawn to the Polaroid as an anachronistic photographic technology, small, private and unique, Aksan, perversely, inflates the images (in his large scale paintings), reproduces the imagery (through his act of painting) and puts them on public display, creating a voyeuristic complicity between him and the viewer in their mutual transgressing of each Polaroid’s implicit privacy, especially as several of the Polaroids are domestically erotic and sexual in nature. These personal, casual moments, are exploited and transformed by Aksan, into something quite different.
Further complicating the paintings as objects is Aksan’s extraordinary level of figurative skill in his depiction of photographic imagery that typically confuses viewers as to the medium of the work. Deceptively simple, on closer inspection, Aksan’s practice is subtly but powerfully transformative of the popular imagery it uses in both meaning and physical manifestation.