Seçil Alkış: If we’re sitting here a year from now, celebrating what a great year it’s been for you, what did you achieve?
Halil Vurucuoğlu: I have a lot of new plans for the next year. Though the material (paper) I’m working with is delicate, it offers many possibilities and I like to experiment and come up with new ways of utilizing it. I assume I will have completed the paintings for a project exhibition that I wanted to work on but have been postponing for a while. We celebrate the opening of this project show –accompanied with live music– comprising three paintings and installations. I also intend to work on a solo show in New York, which I think is the most important art center of the world. I start working on it, everything is going well, and if we can agree on the details, it will be possible to realize this show in 2015. The exhibition goes as planned, then I start filming music videos for the bands that I like: I make a music video for “Federaller”, a band comprising four beautiful people, and we watch it together.
S.A.: I’m sure you’ve had many beautiful things in your life; but when have you been most satisfied?
H.V.: I’ve had many moments of satisfaction, I don’t know which was the happiest of those. Life would be better without expectations, but they exist unfortunately. If you’re aware of your expectations and ready to be satisfied, then you’ll be happy. On the other hand, I’ve also had experiences I wasn’t satisfied or happy with.
S.A.: Are there things that you don’t like to do?
H.V.: Arguing; having to argue with someone. Speaking the same language but not being able to communicate; the moments when one can’t keep calm; I find these situations unacceptable. And postponing things, places, people or plans.
S.A.: We know that you had many solo and group exhibitions. Can you tell us about the project or accomplishment that you find the most important?
H.V.: Though I should accept that art fairs, shows and auctions abroad help a lot with my career, I’d like to talk about my project exhibition “Intoxication” that took place in the Elgiz Museum in 2010 – it was a special show for me. I had prepared its preliminary sketches four years ago, and had been waiting till I found the right time and space to realize it. Focusing on the adaptation problem the modern human has with the dilemma of city vs nature; the exhibition comprised light and sound installations in such a way that they pulled the viewer in – thus the works spread over three rooms were perceived like a single work consisting of paintings, light and sounds. In order to emphasize how the modern citizen can’t adapt himself to neither the city nor nature; and the disorientation and chaos he finds himself in; I wanted to name the exhibition “Intoxication”. It was good to see this project come alive after it had been waiting for so many years.
S.A.: You have a diary of drawings, which inspire many of your works, and sometimes they are transferred directly to your paintings. How do you define these diaries?
H.V.: It’s true that I have notebooks, diaries that I sketch on whenever I’m not working on a painting, to calm my mind down. With my diaries I wanted to expose the guts of everything that leaves one breathless, makes one queasy, or causes blackouts. Of course, in this country with a constantly changing agenda, the crappy news I read or hear about help with this process as well. The corruption of the public, the fetishism for power and the games played on the perception of the masses were issues that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. With the “Discharge” exhibition I created pictures of those wearing ties on TV, who are only as respectable as sewer pipes beneath asphalt; each portrait came from drawings in these notebooks that I drew in the last few years.
S.A.: Do you intend to deliver political messages with your pictures?
H.V.: I don’t understand this deal about political pictures, nor pictures limited by definitions. A picture is either good or bad. There are experiences, feelings and reactions. One already has a political attitude, defined by what one does or doesn’t do.
S.A.: Tell me about a recent project or problem that you made better, faster, smarter or more efficient.
H.V.: I try to be more practical when I make a mural using stencils outdoors (anywhere outside my studio). In my studio I find solutions that will minimize problems concerning time and space, and then I execute these solutions outside. For example, I needed eight stencils for eight different colors for the work I created for the shop window of my close friend Hair Mafia, but I found a practical solution and created the mural using only three stencils. This way, it’s been a project that was completed in a short time and was pleasant for both me and them. It was a good and different experience to prepare for and realize this project.
S.A.: I know that you have your own unique, individual and secret world. Super heroes are also important for you. Do you think that you possess a super power?
H.V.: I sometimes think it would be quite nice to be Wolverine. Till the age of four I thought everybody in the world including me were super heroes, I was surprised to hear that it wasn’t the case. As I grew up and found out that life is different from that in comics, I began to draw pictures of heroes. Later I liked anti-heroes more than heroes. Maybe this is a super power in today’s world; I find easily what I look for; or maybe my power could be to turn things into different things, to transform them…
S.A.: Can you summarize your story for someone who has never met you?
H.V.: My story is about the battle of the good and the bad, just like all the old stories. Though I may get madly excited or make excessive leaps from time to time, I’m after calm happiness and peace. I sometimes feel as if I’m the soundtrack for a good movie, which is interesting. Vibrations are always there, but I still try to find my inner balance.
S.A.: The most disturbing thing about the art world is…
H.V.: It’s good that you said “art world” as I don’t like the word “market”, “art market” doesn’t sound good at all. There is no union in the art world that really encompasses, supports and reassures the artists, I think of this as quite an important shortcoming. And if I were to talk about what I find disturbing; there are moments when people forget we’re creating art. Even if it has a material dimension, I find it unnatural when people discuss numbers instead of the pleasure they get from a work. As Eileen Fray stated, the value of an artwork is determined by how much it’s loved.
S.A.: Do you like to snack while working?
H.V.: Yes, I always have dried fruits, nuts, pretzels, carrots, brownies and croissants in my studio.