Turkish artist Mehmet Guleryuz makes his Mumbai debut
Titled On the Road, 32 works completed during Guleryuz’s travels to Paris and New York in the 1970s and ’80s go on display at the Jehangir and then the Jamaat galleries over the next six weeks.mumbai Updated: Apr 17, 2018 00:24 IST
“Sometimes a painting becomes an athletic challenge. I work for 14 to 16 hours at a stretch. I don’t like to come back to a work I started at some earlier point,” says Mehmet Guleryuz. The living legend from Turkey is in Mumbai for his India debut.
Titled On the Road, 32 works completed during Guleryuz’s travels to Paris and New York in the 1970s and ’80s go on display at the Jehangir and then the Jamaat galleries over the next six weeks.
The work is largely Impressionistic, marked by dense, evocative lines. His inspiration is the world around him — politics, society, cultures, violence, love, the 80-year-old artist says. “My imagination is my escape route. In my work I reflect both the world and the aspiration to change it.”
On the Road is part of a larger collection titled Despite, “because I paint despite everything that is going on in the world.”
The times we live in worry him, Guleryuz adds. “There is a rise of populism everywhere. Populism is not democracy. It is a way for those who control you to make you believe that their benefit is your benefit.”
Among the works on display in Mumbai is Cordon Bleu, which personifies the nation-state as a grotesque gardener wielding a mechanical scythe over a patch of grass. “To achieve nothing much,” Guleryuz laughs. On the canvas, away from his eyes, wild vegetation flourishes.
In Mektup (Letter), a woman sits by a window holding a letter. The world in front of her, inside the room, has become dense and beautiful with the image of a faraway land.
“People and what they might be thinking fascinate me,” he says.
That sense of the importance of expression goes back to his days as a student of theatre, in the early 1960s.
“In the 1960s, there were political movements across the world for civil rights,” he says. “As an actor, I reinvented ways to essay a role, used minute details to express something new. That is my philosophy in art too.”
For 55 years, drawings, paintings and sculpture have been his medium of expression. His next will be a series about Paris, where he now lives. “It is a bit satirical, but fun too,” he says.
WHAT: On the Road, an exhibition of works by Turkish artist Mehmet Guleryuz
WHEN & WHERE: Jehangir Art Gallery, April 17 – 24; Jamaat gallery, April 26 – May 30
Entry is free