Turning his back to naturalism, the young filmmaker Alpagrif explores bold shapes and rich effects of texture and design. These communicate an intense vision of nature of psychological resonance. Being an artist who held the world of the imagination to be more important than that of observation, he did not hesitate to unleash his imagination to come up with highly surrealistic landscapes populated with cartoon characters or, at the opposite end, the likes of Gabriel, the angel of death, appearing in Destiny, a relatively naturalistic work, or Standoff, a film poster.
About the Artist
The gallery co-founder Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay examines the themes and motifs of her son Alpagrif’s work and the context in which it was made:
Some of the works' imagery springs from the artist's imagination, while in others we see unmediated observations of the world around him.Working across figuration and abstraction, he examines a wide range of subject matter, from the personal and diaristic to the social and political. His is a complex and nuanced body of work, a fusion of sensuality and intellectual enquiry in which texture, colour, structure and process are employed to mine history (and hidden histories) and address contemporary subject matter.
His works are at once brutal and elegant , bound up with the excesses of the world yet brought into being through the prism of art history. From Cubism's fracturing of the picture plane, through Futurism's attempts to capture movement, via the transcendental spaces of colour field painting, Alpagrif uses different pictorial styles to express himself without any barrier.The young artist Alpagrif's practice can be described as engaging in his own unique form of myth-making, one in which the interweaving of fact with fiction opens up possibilities for an imagined new world, markedly different from those that appear in classical history. Currently, he works on a cyberpunk comedy set in the year 20XX he co-created with a grotesque and sarcastic humor, parodying the ‘high-tech, low-life’ sense of the genre. It stresses the current trends putting people at the mercy of authoritarian governments and intrusive companies, making them further dependent on pricy tech and more isolated. Alpagrif creates the panoramic mise-en-scènes on display entirely with his mind’s eye, pouring out his mind’s contents on screen. In his works Alpagrif proposes worlds within worlds.Painterly techniques are employed alongside construction of images comprised of doodling and transformations of organic forms, densely textured and sculptural.
As the post-narrative era offers an immense menu of artistic choices, certainly there is room for painting in the classical sense; and the artist celebrates the beauty of nature in its very spectacularity, and the landscapes characterized by luminescence of color reflect Alpagrif’s sense of awe in the grandeur of nature. In the cross-generational exhibition of Galeri MCRD Spectacular, in his grandmother Saadet Cengiz’s enigmatic gouache painting Dreamland the viewers are invited to imagine their own story, and in this, they meet her young grandson Alpagrif’s vividly colored coastal scenes, especially the one depicting the angel of death in the act of taking a mortal to the “other side”, Destiny. It is clear that the artists’ strong desire to see things beyond the immediately perceptible, or things beyond the rational or comprehensible unites them, although there are long years separating them.
Poised between the strange and the familiar, his works in this exhibition are rooted in the vibrant landscapes of the artist's imagination, yet shaped by dreamlike associations that interconnect the works. Alpagrif's work gestures towards the incalculable process of painting, which is beginning with, ‘a very intuitive dance in the dark of brushes and colors'.They invite us to journey across terrain in which the utopian leads the way.
A recent graduate of New York University Tisch School of the Arts' Film &TV Production department, the young artist Alpagrif aims to examine complex intersections of narrative, fact and fiction through digital painting, photography, animation, film and installation. He has graduated from Koc High School, Istanbul in 2016 and participated to the Spectacular exhibition of Galeri MCRD in 2015.