Critique by Alessandro Russo
This article about my work is written by Italian Art Critic Alessandro Russo. This blog post is a translation of his post into English. The original article in Italian can be found on-line in Rivista D’Arte PASSPARnous Edizioni Psychodream.
“Humanity is expressed through different techniques in the art of Gültekin Bilge. Matter becomes intense colour vibration without boundaries and limits”.
“A hymn to humanity could define the artistic production of Gültekin Bilge, artist from Cyprus. The essence of a glorious and epic past, which may be contained in pre-Romanticism, recurs in Bilge’s shapes and in his new, modern and personal artist canons.
A never-ending quest for peace and coexistence among nations, made up of people with faces like theatre masks, suffering and crying their anger in a world indifferent towards injustice. We see this process constantly emerge in Bilge’s productions, so as to give him a certain harmony between the technical choice of material on which the author goes to work, and the message, aesthetic and content of the work itself.
Bilge is never satisfied with what he has been able to achieve through his productions. He is constantly experimenting to develop complex itineraries that make matter, the model for the realisation of his work, a melting pot of metaphoric elements in a continuous visual plastic complexity that is unprecedented.
He works through the use of different techniques with the artist’s wisdom and knowledge; the use of sgraffito, marbling, working with acrylic, mixed media, carved wood, and using cedar resin to almost pervasively dissolve colour to achieve a particular effect.
In fact, colour is the load-bearing element of Bilge’s art. The artistic ability of an author is glimpsed and perceived when the same artist manages to be daring with the colour variations in his works. We can add to this aspect, which makes Bilge an internationally recognized artist, the need, named also virtue, by the same author managed to overcome those limitations, physical and concrete, which the canvas in its size defines: this limit has always been felt by Bilge, identifying, therefore, forms and strategies, aesthetic and compositional, which took him out of this heavily reductionist limit.
Bilge comes from Cyprus and you cannot read his art by departing from the context in which it operates. Tragically, during the events of the occupation of Cyprus by the Greek military junta, Bilge is shot in the right hand, and only recovers it’s use through difficult and complicated surgery. Bilge as a soldier defending his own people from aggression. This spirit distinguishes its production established through the figurative and becomes almost symbolic, metaphorical, abstract, but at the same time alive and pervasive, the inner restlessness of human souls in search of justice and peace. Uneasiness is felt in Bilge’s works, making the expressions of faces and men represented almost mystical essences, as bearers of meaning, poetic and lyrical, deep and intense.
After recovery Bilge works hard between 2006 and 2011, creating various series and ensuring that margin of time that will prepare him to develop and research new technical forms, while the formality becomes functional informality of the content of the production, autonomous and subjective, which becomes authoritative. A stream of conscience and the reading of the folds of the individual, the cries of the people, lead to translate feelings and emotions that you feel when you contemplate the works. The brushstrokes in oil, retracing here the story of a people becomes artistic description, using the traditional Turkish language, Uygur, bringing it under chromatic and figurative visions of unprecedented scope, almost graffiti that is immortalised in paintings, with a style all Turkish, called T-weave. Bilge manages to make incisive and penetrating images, which become irregular, dynamic, a continuous and perpetual movement of shapes and icons, subjectivity in path, defined as his technique: “Whirling”.
The effect will be that of a painting on a marble surface, clarity and lucidity imprinted in the continuous flow of shapes and geometries that create unexpected views, further given the real and tangible. Bilge continues, not always content with the achievements, addressing every type of technique in oil, mixed media, the complicated and plastic acrylic, so as to give a harmony and synthesis of impressions and feelings to the viewer, free in his knowledge and reading of the painting. The chromatic contrast, those who relish in the series from 2009 onwards, the series that announce, speak and express the emotions of the soul, the vicissitudes of the human daily life, peace, rivalry, harmony, strength, discord, great ideas, engage in light vibrations and games of light and dark, such as to make the figures represented interpenetrating, an effect of dissolution and mutual comparison, each element is functional to another, in a continuous whirl of passions and inner movements of mind. All this is achieved through the wisdom of the colors and their infinite combinations: all makes, including a succession of darker spots and brighter points, almost three-dimensional representation, well calibrating levels, different, layering of the painting, which becomes material.
In 2010 appears the first series of works on wood, based on the idea of exploring new boundaries by painting directly on natural and irregular forms, always using that technique “whirling”, combining, as appropriate, aesthetics and content, with a special surface treatment. It goes well with the series of 2011, where they appear and composite works consist of several pieces, as if they were triptychs, some, like “Nobody Listens,” sole and absolute intensity of the narrative, descriptions of the desperate condition of those who cry for help and who does not accept this request, not listening in total indifference. At this juncture we perceive a predominance of art ethics, civil art: a commitment that is manifested through a mixture of colors and brush strokes, that make a glossy effect to the expressiveness that want to define more precisely those folds of the human soul stronger and more expressive.
The figurative expressionism merges with an abstract metaphor for a condition that becomes individual, and escalates to the condition of people. We see, then, how the use of carved wood becomes made up of moments technique and procedures of each functional to the other: steps that start with the sculpted shapes in the wood coming to use the oil resin which go to define strokes of color, so as to make it even more the feeling of permeation of the dye color, a dissolution that mingles in the forms of shapes in a painting enclosed in another painting.