Efe Korkut Kurt: Can you tell us a bit about your show at Galerie Lelong, which opens on September 10th?
Ramazan Bayrakoğlu: This show at Galerie Lelong is both my first show with the gallery and my first solo show abroad, which makes me a little nervous. I’ve stopped working on other things and focused solely on this show. There will be a total of 8 large-scale paintings; three plexiglas works and five fabric works. The general theme of the show is “RESTLESS”.
I took all the photographs that are used in these paintings myself. I especially had difficulty photographing figures: I’ve used models with no acting experience and they’ve put up with me for hours without any complaint, and they’ve done their best to achieve good results. The combination of my inexperience and theirs has made it quite difficult.
The portrait shots in particular were intended to look like movie stills. However it’s not that easy to capture the mood of a movie with a still-camera. There are a lot of additional steps prior to and after shooting. There’s a lot I need to learn, I’m quite aware of this; however this is something new for me and I’m doing my best to make progress.
I find the idea of an artwork based on another artwork quite intriguing, however it’s especially important for me that the original artwork also belongs to me. I see painting as the final step, and I will improve and develop the process of setting up a cinematographic scene and transforming it into a painting. The paintings at the Lelong show are the first reasonable examples of this process.
Efe Korkut Kurt: What things attain priority when opening a show at a gallery which has worldwide recognition and influence?
Ramazan Bayrakoğlu: The fact that it’s a world-renowned gallery creates serious pressure. Working with such a gallery doesn’t instantly turn me into an international artist of course, accomplishing that requires more time. However working with an international gallery forces you to make plans and projects in order to become an artist of that level. It transforms the way you think, your ideas concerning quality and your professional attitude.
Lelong is quite a good gallery, but working with this gallery isn’t enough by itself – when you’re working with a gallery, you have to become a prominent figure. I feel I have such power, however I don’t have as much international experience as the other artists working with the gallery. This show puts emphasis on the need for more dialogue, more circulation, more experience; and this first show is probably the beginning of a new period for me.
Efe Korkut Kurt: Is this show different from your previous shows with regard to its materials, images or concepts?
Ramazan Bayrakoğlu: The works in this show sit right between what I plan to do and what I’ve previously done. I guess this is a series of transition-paintings. I was able to better carry out my wish to infuse the paintings with film aesthetics. I’ve gained a lot of experience during the creation of these paintings. I now have a much better idea of how I should work.
I really want my paintings to be based on a more powerful and tense theoretical background, and I want them to have visual quality that serves this purpose. When I look at all my plexiglas and fabric works, I realize that I need to strengthen the theoretical dimension. This is the main goal of my future projects. However, I of course don’t want to do this in an exaggeratedly simple and direct way. I think the directness of message in an artwork is a sign of shallowness, primitiveness. My paintings need to contain ambiguities that can carry them beyond the present, only then I could say that they’re good. It’s easy to talk about this, however it’s not so easy to realize it.