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We have to admit; Antakyalı’s painting is dirty! It refrains from fuss and feathers. So to speak, it consists of dirty layers.Starting from his youth works, it feels sympathy to what is chaotic and confronts it. The city and metropolis appearing like clowns because of capitalism’s beautifying efforts eventually become the main subjects of Antakyalı’s painting. However, you cannot see the metropolis directly; visible ones are the diverse images and the ones who live there. Although visible, they seem to have been mutated and are not hale and hearty. They are like pictorial and imaginary symbols of deterioration, and often arouse the feeling of being pictured at one sitting.

We have to admit; Antakyalı’s painting is so far away from photography! And fortunately it is so.  He creates his own world by questioning the line, the surface and the stain unlike the painters and representative who are captured by realism in Turkish painting. He studies on a painting which is closer to reading more than looking. It is also very open to rereading. The image bombardment of today’s world is echoed in these works. Orthographies and statements are also seen in some of his works. Typefaces are not only the lines, they are also the means of expression. In his works, there are as many words of a poet who will get out of a jam as s/he speaks.

We have to admit; Antakyalı’s painting is talkative! I would say it is not expressionist. It is like the voices of outcasts and outsiders. For Antakyalı, painting is almost like an instrumentalized objective. His canvases are like the pieces of a shouting urban recluse’s diary that constantly tells something, wants to be heard and does not want to understand that it’s being heard. It sometimes shouts with colour and sometimes with a speech bubble. We cannot see indoors in his paintings. Images and figures move on the streets and in the air. They are often vagrants and linear.

We have to admit; Antakyalı’s painting is nourished from the streets! The world is seen with an eye of a child who was send to grocery store and probably never came back. There, there is neither art history nor the ‘market’ if said in a colloquial manner. Streets and walls dazzle Antakyalı as they do many others. Colour, stroke, texture and statements are intertwined or side by side. The new and different one finds its place there. Respectively, the one who is outdoors is the artist. There are not many artists that reach to the museums from the walls, they are as few as the fingers of a hand. Though there are many dispositions and fields being nourished by virtual environment, the wall is always a timely surface and talkative. It communicates. It is colourful and polyphonic.


We have to admit; in Antakyalı’s painting, the walls are inside! Many artists carried inside what they  see, what they want to show at any time and anywhere; Antakyalı also keeps track of this. Perhaps, it is the only point in which his only approach to, even reconciliation with art history occurs. Now the outdoors is inside, we go out from inside. He pretends like he wants to carry outdoors to inside. He does not pretend to do it though, that is exactly what he does. The interior wall of your place is actually the outer wall and it calls you to outdoors when you are inside. This isn’t a call just for you. He wants to be protected and he also brings the outdoors to interior. Does not imprison anything, creates a space of freedom inside. Each figure in his painting is as free as a bird looking for its own cage.

We have to admit; Antakyalı’s painting questions the freedom! Colours and lines on his canvases move by coincidence and in a hurry. They are as simple and alone as the violated angels willing to live eternally in these spaces of freedom. In the canvases where multi-linear figures located, we see compressed masses covering the entire canvas. These compressed however free looking masses are doomed to stay together as they have no place to go and want freedom with a demanding silence. When they are portrayed alone, their desperation become even more obvious.   They are childlike and fragile on these very dynamic surfaces. They seem to be clumsily and hastily drawn to the wall on which striking textures emerged as the time goes by.

We have to admit; Antakyalı’s painting is in search of its own wall! Antakyalı works at an infinitely seeking painting. From time to time, he goes after what is instinctual. He examines himself on each stage and scale. Occasionally, he creates and designs measurements and numerical series. As far as I am concerned, this should not be considered as self repetition. Indeed, the opposite is true; he sets new traps to himself for self-renewal like willing to go through the new hoops. This perception fed by life and street eventually becomes unsatisfactory. Even though the canvas becomes the wall. He reaches up to a new quest. He tackles in order to be the wall. He setts off on his journey to his own wall…

We have to accept; Antakyalı’s painting is no longer painting! The surface is now a construction zone for him and it always has been. Without leaving his long standing magician-like and magical attitude when fighting with the colour, his objective becomes transforming the canvas that was once a place into the wall. Eventually, his objective of transforming the canvas into a wall eventually makes the canvas a new surface created by a concrete looking mixture. Creation process ends with sometimes carvings and sometimes drawings on these surfaces where the concrete effect is predominantly felt. With his recent works in which the colours occasionally step in, he obtains remarkable and massive canvases and now the wall is inside. He reaches up to a point where dimensions fall short. Third dimension is needed now. The artist also creates works that transforms into sculpturesque forms. Finally, we encounter with an artist who creates not to be original, but to question his own spaces of freedom and who creates new spaces of freedom when these spaces are insufficient. Antakyalı questions the day and himself without falling into the trap of the actual. NOW, PAINTING HAS RETURNED TO WHERE IT ONCE STARTED; TO WALL…


January, 2017

Harun Antakyalı_Untitled_Mixed Media_4x100cmx100 cm

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