Engin Konuklu’s new solo exhibition “Valley” met with art lovers in Büyükdere35 between 24 February – 19 March 2021.
‘Trauma that poses a threat to possessed assets and situations causes changes in personality. Trauma affects directly as well as indirectly or through its social character. The ‘present’ of the act of remembering, together with changing social values and personality, can construct new meanings and memories of memories in memory. The repetitive and differentiated images in the exhibition sometimes express changing memories of compulsory landscapes.’ (Engin Konuklu, 2021)
Initially, could you tell us about yourself?
Hello, I am Engin Konuklu, I was born in 1990 in Adana. I completed my undergraduate and graduate education at Dokuz Eylül University Fine Arts Faculty, Department of Painting. I live and continue my production in Izmir.
What was your purpose in choosing the “Valley” series for the exhibition? Why this series? How did you relate conceptually with the name and space of the exhibition?
After the idea of creating an exhibition on landscape, the first painting I painted is called “Valley”. This painting also gave its name to the exhibition. The name of the exhibition comes from a valley in the area where I live.
The basis of my production process, which has proceeded through figures, actually started with a landscape painting that I practiced in 2009 and that I can define as ambiguous. In this sense, painting landscapes again was a comeback for me after 12 years.
How is your production process in general, how has the production of the “Valley” series developed?
Although the overall of my production process and the conceptual nature of the “Valley” show a commonality, there are many technical differences. While my previous process usually proceeded through figures and monochrome colors, there are no figures in the “Valley” exhibition, and the paintings generally exist in color.
In the “Valley” exhibition, you focus on concepts such as memory, remembering, how the memories are formed and how to get a place in memory. How / why did you question these concepts? How much influence has it had in your production process of writers / scientists like Draaisma and Rodrigo Quian?
In books such as “Metaphors of Memory”, “The Nostalgia Factory” and “Borges and Memory”, exhibit important data on the functioning of memory. While these data describe the fact that memory is not just a storage area, it also gives examples of new metaphors that describe memory with the technology that has developed since ancient times.
In the theory of collective memory, Halbwachs mentions that although memories belong to the individual, they cannot develop independently from the social structure. In this context, our memories progress in line with the references that the collective structure we are in approves and rejects.
I think that the meaning of the space differs according to the collective structure within the space, just like the identity. For this reason, the repetitive images in the exhibition are given to those spaces; it reveals new meanings with the changing self regarding those moments.
We observe that you works on various surfaces with airbrush in the series. Can you explain your method and why you chose this method; Were the topics you emphasized effective in choosing the technique or, conversely, was your technique effective in the formation of the themes?
Different surfaces bring strengths and weaknesses with it. In fact, these strengths and weaknesses also differ according to the desired effect; While I get a photographic illusion on smooth and glossy surfaces, I create different effects on more matte, raw and absorbent surfaces. In this case, I prefer different surfaces according to the atmosphere I want to create.
Although I use techniques such as charcoal and oil paint in my paintings, acrylic paint and airbrush was the technique that I thought helped me the most in creating the form I described as ambiguous. Therefore, this technique formed the basis of my production. I also had the opportunity to try different possibilities of airbrush technique in this exhibition.
In addition, I created the “Road” series with a technique I can call glazing. The colors in the “Road” series come out with the combination of overlapping transparent primary colors. For example, instead of mixing yellow and blue to get a green color, I apply a sufficient amount of cyan blue on a transparent yellow that I apply first and get the green I want.
Finally, can you tell us about your future projects?
“Pier” and “Pink Velvet” paintings in the exhibition are new methods that I have had the opportunity to exhibit for the first time, although there are some examples in my production practice before. I’m planning to progress on these methods in the future.
Thanks for the interview.
Author: Deniz Kocabağlı