Private View: 18 May, 18:30 – 21:00
Nejat Satư is part of a generation of artists who have used innovative techniques to transform the discipline of painting. Cracks is Satư’s first solo exhibition in London and will showcase an extensive new series of works which inject a melancholic undertone in his distinctive painting style.
Prior to commencing a painting, Satư mixes his paint with a viscous, transparent acrylic gel. A generous amount of this mixture is then swept across the canvas and over its edges by either a brush or a squeegee. Once dry, the pigmented gel’s waxy consistency transforms into a hard, shiny, plastic-like surface. Due his material’s semi-transparent nature, the artist does not fully control the outcome and often small bands of underlying colour peer through, contrasting with the colour of the uppermost layer, creating a sense of movement. Therefore, while the creation of each work is similar, nuances in composition and shade make each outcome distinctively different from the last.
Divorced from the restrictions of figurative depiction, Satư's practice focuses on the application and manipulation of his medium. For him, it is just as much about testing his signature material’s inherent creative potential, and exploring how the fluctuating transparency effects how the colours juxtapose with each other, as it is about the artwork’s final form.
Yet, while Satư's material asserts itself as his paintings' primary subject matter, his works still allude to the world outside the canvas. Previously, his paintings' high-gloss sheen and bright colours bring to mind the pristine newness of mass-produced commercial goods, while the works within Cracks have a far more muted palette with colours reminiscent of skin tones. In contrast to the brittle artificiality of his earlier palette's vibrancy, these new paintings have a natural, corporal feel. The reoccurring use of blue-purple mixtures that imitate the colour of bruised skin healing imbues the work with melancholy. Alongside these paintings are works from Satư’s cracked series; these transform his pigmented mixture into shards that are affixed directly to the canvas’ surface. Bursting outwards from a central point they become like shattered glass or a stilled explosion. Similarly, these works suggest physical or psychological cracks.
Satư’s skin tones and shattered planes, while varied, are universally recognisable as evocative symbols. In this exhibition, the artist takes his well-tested painting process and reconstitutes it as a framework onto which he can channel the evocative and the emotional. Within the seemingly narrow and restrictive methodological confines that he has imposed upon himself, he has created a relationship between formalistic and emotional concerns. This is a development that is reflective of the increasing influence of the current global socio-political situation on an artist previously predominantly interested in pure abstraction.
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Nejat Satư, b. 1982. Major exhibitions include The Power of Form, Plato Sanat, Istanbul, Turkey (2016); Nefs (solo), Pi Artworks Istanbul, Turkey (2014); Istanbul Art Scene (solo), Yallay Gallery, Hong Kong (2014); Hot Spot Istanbul, Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland (2013); State of Mind (solo), Pi Artworks Istanbul, Turkey (2012); Organic Abstract (solo), Pi Artworks Istanbul, Turkey (2012); Encounters, Turkish Contemporary Art in Korea, Araart, Seoul, South Korea (2012); If Nature is Heaven, Hell is The City, Cer Modern, Ankara, Turkey (2011); and When Ideas Become Crime, Depo, Istanbul, Turkey (2010).