Professor Ayan’s Veracity at Tophane-i Amire

Turkish painting during the last thirty years, explicitly since the implosion of East Germany, witnessed the most momentous expansion in its history under the influence of the global/foundering postmodern democracy. Many artist have nicely adopted those sprouting trends and movements without any individual effort but a few persisted to continue working on their own stance alongside with living contemporaries. Moreover, during this period, a considerable number of international art activities, art fairs and gallery productions in Istanbul have hit the top in every aspect. There are , nevertheless a few exceptions to this assignation.  As to exemplify, one of the most influential artist at The Painting Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Professor Ayan has always preferred to proceed on his own way and had made no attempt to respond to those half-baked self –fulfilling methods of art productions willingly.

Ayan’s retrospective Show in my observation gives a variety of senses of realism to the tracers. He accurately represents external objects, while drawing attention to everyday condition of working class and configuring hic compositional elements through the momentary aspects of nature in oil painting methods relied on clashing contrast of tones and defused benign lights.  His rendering method, goes back to seventeenth century classical landscape tradition which was initiated in Italy by Annibale Carracci and developed by the Northern artist of the proceeding periods up to the realism of critical/philosophical approaches to humanitarian matters and commonplace of actuality. On the other hand, Professor Ayan is a painter of mystery and magical reality of highland avocations of Anatolia. It is not surprising that Ayan’s Works were received in Turkey both with sympathy and hostility by the discrepancy and conflicting political ideologies during 80’ies His figurative content on his canvass paintings and line etching along with some pencil drawings were featured powerbrokers and revolutionary activists for their mindful socio-political references and attributions.

From the early stage to the present, his art, in my opinion, does not only claim agony from its tracer by its spiritual aura and detailed psychological characteristics   but also urges audience to indulge in thought with a peculiar feeling of sadness gained by its representational content and expressive compositional mystery and originality, as well as with the various references of early romanticism of Europe and Pre Raphaelite traditions of British Painting. His allegorical landscapes may also evoke German romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich that features contemplative figures silhouetted against night light skies. But Ayan’s further development of daily life landscape paintings and portrait genre are considered to be the main achievement along with discovery and emphasis of the forms and perspective illusion of the concrete veracity.

It appears that Professor Ayan’s retrospective show gives “object lessons” to those artists that we often come across in contemporary galleries and art fairs. Some of them work fast and escape hard work and dexterity, and use unconventional materials in painting such as chromogenic prints as to search for easy routes to illustrate their ideas. Perhaps the others may easily gain a certain popularity by their marginal manners and attitudes involving certain trickery of computer technology as well as varieties of medium and techniques of the mechanical reproductions. But these are merely non-persistent and short lived experiments that artists may or might not endeavor to contrive the individual language of visual communication.

Any art show can, undoubtedly be appreciated by the solitary observer, and it can be thoroughly analysed and interpreted in an academic seminar.  But, here, the limitation of time and space, precludes a detailed consideration since this banquet refers to a total of one hundred pieces of canvas paintings and etchings. 

Of all the works, Professor Ayan explores and discovers in sharply focused  analysis of social background of his subject matters and landscapes  that are deliberately sought to render at her most dramatic instance mainly acquired by clashing contrasts of Baroque theatricality elaborated by other poetic and metaphorical images  related to poor urban life of Anatolian highlands, and the  extraordinary depiction of mountain range in rich  tonal values of fading lights and saturated colours  that consign the configurations mysterious  appearance of depth and perspective unity. (May12, 2017)


Adem Genç

Professor of Art, PhD

Beykent University, Istanbul

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