Galeri MCRD's Epiphany exhibition presents works by three artists sharing a surreal element, a love of nature, an ethereal sensibility.They draw or paint with their mind’s eye, and their “Epiphanies”, sudden intuitive perceptions into the essential meanings of their preoccupations, constitute the main theme of this exhibition based on the idea that artists depict these very epiphanies in most of their works.
March 5 - April 25, 2015
The gallery co-founder Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay examines the themes and motifs of the exhibition and the context in which it was made:
Moving effortlessly between abstraction and figuration, the imagined and the real; the paintings in this exhibition are depicting a world in which indications of specific place or time are absent. A poetics of free-association unites the works. All three artists come from different backgrounds - Alexandre Dujardin from Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg, Alpagrif from New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay from Bosphorus University-; but they have a lot in common: their works share a surreal element, a love of nature: Dujardin’ s exquisite flowers, butterflies and figures form a brain, and meet Y.C.Cagatay’s otherworldly insects or humanized trees living in a parallel world; and Alpagrif’s surreal creatures navigating the seas under full moon.
With tinges of Pre-Raphaelite aesthetics, they bring an ethereal sensibility to their paintings. Their compositions denote art historical foundations in romanticism, while also offering contemporary metaphors into the depths of human mind. They all weave together elaborate narratives that entwine together the legend of the past with a glimpse of a possible future. All works’ imagery springs from the artists’ imagination, and reflect a belief in the enduring vitality of beauty; and drawing and painting as a primary form of visual communication. As contemporary artists, they are outside the confines of manifesto-driven art, and they are working in a mindset where “everything is possible”, and imagination has no boundaries. They draw or paint with their mind’s eye, and their “Epiphanies”, sudden intuitive perceptions into the essential meanings of their preoccupations, constitute the main theme of this exhibition based on the idea that artists depict these very epiphanies in most of their works.
In this exhibition the artists invite visitors into an alternate universe of male and female characters, hybrid beings, and fantastical landscapes, challenging traditional art histories, mythologies, and conventional techniques of remembering. As an artist, they think about the desire, and continual longing they have had over the years to make meaning of the world around them through materials. And they all have a kind of wonder, but also a kind of devotion that lies in that very fragile pursuit. All have a the distinct visual language that they hone, a form of introspective image-making, marrying an interrogation of the gaze with a distinct form of ghostly surrealism. Displaying a kind of melancholy romanticism, they want to evoke a plane of existence just beyond tangible reach.While their image are conceptually grounded, there is also something inherently joyous at play.
About the Artists
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. A recent graduate of Tisch School of the Arts' Film &TV department, he aims to examine complex intersections of narrative, fact and fiction through digital painting, photography, animation, film and installation.In his works Alpagrif proposes worlds within worlds.Painterly techniques are employed alongside Alpagrif's construction of images comprised of doodling and transformations of organic forms, densely textured and sculptural.
Alexandre Dujardin is a young artist currently living in Berlin. After his studies in illustration and painting at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg he decided to leave his native region to reach the capital of art several years ago. At first, he worked on his painting in a squatt during one year, then made the decision to apply for the big ateliers Berlin had to offer like Raw Tempel, where he spent one year, and then the Bethanien Kulturhaus and its studios where he currently practizes his art. He now works as an award winning freelance illustrator for publishers and magazines in Germany and France and exhibits his paintings and illustrations in France, Germany, Italy and Turkey.
Yasemin Cengiz Cagatay started to get involved with the world of paints and paintings as a small child as the daughter of an art teacher mother; and received her foundations from her and her large art history books collection. A major establishment in Turkish art history following a blend of Turkish and French curricula, Galatasaray High School she attended from 11 to 19 years old provided a favorable environment for arts education. When she won the 1st prize in Turkish Airline's national painting competition, she has been invited to the State Academy of Fine Arts, but she attended Bosphorus University Business School. After working in corporate management for a decade, the artist started to pursue her vocation in 2007. She self-studied painting in her İstanbul studio, and educated herself in the art fairs, museums, galleries and bookstores of Paris, London and NYC, focusing also in psychology. She attended art auctions and the education programs of Sotheby’s Institute of Art London and New York, and IESA Paris. She had her first exhibitions at Galeri MCRD she co-founded starting from the gallery’s foundation in 2012, and also had exhibited at All Arts Istanbul Fair in 2013 and Contemporary Istanbul in 2014.