Posted by: bluesyemre | January 3, 2020

Ahmet Güneştekin (visual artist) @AhmetGunestekin


Ahmet Güneştekin

1966 —Born in Batman in the south-east of Turkey, grew up in a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures that enriched each other throughout history. Already as a child, he explores his world through drawing. The colours and shapes in his surroundings form an impression on him, and he loves to follow the stories told by the older people. He learns fairy tales from many ethnic groups.

1981 — He leaves his home and travels to Istanbul. Coming to this metropolis with its complex East-West social and cultural structures does not prove easy for him. He needs time to find his bearings there, visiting galleries and starting an academic education, before dropping out to find his way as an artist.

1997 —In his first studio in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, he discovers a way to turn his experiences from his journeys following his passion for seeing unknown ways of life – a passion first fostered in the dreams of his childhood universe – into an aesthetic.

2003 —His first major exhibition Colours After Darkness has a spellbinding effect due to the intensity of childhood memories the artist recollected.

2004 —After his debut in 2003 with a body of work consisting of large and colourful wooden paintings that reflect abstracted nature, mythological figures and religious symbols which have textual and symbolic references to a conceivable amelioration of a horrific past, Güneştekin became a well-known and successful artist on the Istanbul art scene.

2005 —He follows the traces of microworlds in the ethnographic excursions arranged for his documentary film series. The equivalencies he finds in life are the fantastic stories he listened to as a child, which have a formative impact on his visual memory as much as on his emotional world.

2010— At an earlier stage, Güneştekin works on paintings with very strong colours, yet which already exhibits the typical symbiosis between geometric shapes and winding lineatures. Over time, the globes and the markings have become more dominant, with fractal elements even appearing now. He develops a visual understanding of his own based on stratified constructs and superposed imagery, the use of optical components, three-dimensional gradients and colour alignment. He starts up Güneştekin Art Centre in Beyoğlu, where he showcases his works.

2012—Formed into an intricate whole comprising elements of different cultures and ways of life, oral narratives give shape to a world of thought. The reinterpretation of myths in a modern vernacular becomes a way for the artist to show how memories are constructed in the present. He makes Encounter, one of his masterworks in which the past forms its nucleus.

2013—Painting alone is not capable of tapping into and exhausting his inner abundance of motifs and thoughts. For this reason, he always seeks out new forms of expression, such as with filmic means. He achieves great success in Venice in 2013 when he showed his multimedia work Momentum of Memory that impressively addresses questions of identity and explores which social and psychic processes underlie the collective memory. After the exhibition in Venice coincided with the 55th Venice Biennale, he begins working with the Marlborough Gallery.

2014—The dynamism enveloping his works has carried him to centres of art around the world, due to the original ways he makes use of and arranges materials. The geometries in the artist’s works have become so powerful and dominant that they virtually demand to step outside the image. For instance, the globes were enclosed with grid constructions, according to the image a shadowy tone and a suggestion of depth. At times they stretch out like a protective grid so as to provide support to the persons found in the deeper layers of the painting.

2015—With his sculptures Million Stone and installation Kostantiniyye, he creates a subjectivity different from the Op Art of Victor Vasarely and the popular images created in the sculptures of Robert Indiana. Coincided with the Venice Biennale in La Pieta, the exhibition by Marlborough Gallery leaves a miraculous impression on the global art audience in Venice.

2017—Being represented by Berlin-based Galerie Michael Schultz. Sun Road, his first exhibition in Berlin by the gallery, reflects his stylistic transformation over the last decade. He revisits the destruction engrained in the memory of his homeland and the recent history that has yet to be faced up to in his installation Neverthere and his video art Decay, which is complex in its handling of beliefs, fanaticism and the demise of cultures.

2018—His colossal installation Chamber of Immortality, woven around themes of journey and the search for eternal life, finds a starting and end point in the synthesis of his world of thought. He comments anew on scenes known from founding myths and from the inscriptions made by early humans on the monoliths uncovered in Göbekli Tepe.

2018—His survey exhibition Reflection and Resumption opens simultaneously at Vasarely Museum, Janus Pannonius Museum and Zsolnay Museum in Pecs, Hungary.  The exhibition endeavours to allow the audience the opportunity to journey through the transformation of the idea of optical illusion within artist’s work, and op art through a new lens, in others word a miraculous lens. Embracing a diverse range of work and bringing together the op artists, Vasarely and Güneştekin, the exhibition speaks of the dialogue between their works and traces the genealogy of this dialogue.

2019—Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien presents the artist’s solo exhibition which brings together artist’s autarkic sculptures as altars of remembrance. Myths have been a central aspect of his oeuvre to the present day. However, one should not succumb to the notion that Güneştekin commits them in a striking, eye-catching way to canvas. Instead, he modifies these traditions and lore, transposing them into his artistic language.

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