Yavuz Tanyeli

Mediterranean Effect

28.11.2019 - 10.01.2020

Yavuz Tanyeli, one of the most important masters of contemporary Turkish painting, is meeting viewers for the first time after a long break with his solo exhibition, Mediterranean Effect at C.A.M. Gallery. Tanyeli, who has opened 54 personal exhibitions throughout his art life, describes himself as a storyteller. 

‘Being a painter is difficult, I’m not saying an artist, being a painter is difficult, seeing and perceiving is difficult. Painting is an hole other practice. It’s difficult to paint for hours, days, a life time. Inhaling thinner and turpentine all night long and yet still trying to stay sober and have control over your hands is difficult. Painting paintings that are 5, 6, 7, meters long without absurdity is difficult. In the last few days I came across a result that I was amazed to calculate. I’ve realized that I have worked well throughout my art life. I opened three of the 54 exhibitions in AKM and the others in large venues such as Yapı Kredi, Galatasaray and important galleries. I exhibited an average of 70-100 paintings in these large spaces. If we where to estimate an average of 40 paintings in each exhibition, 40 times 54 (number of exhibitions) is 2160 paintings. If we are to estimate that each of the pictures is an average width of 1 meter and if we were to place them one after an other in an adjacent position. The total length would add up to 2160 meters long. Two kilometers, 160 meters. I leave it to you to calculate what that means. Enter from Taksim, exit from Tünel, enter from Teşvikiye Mosque, exit from Sisli. If you were to attempt to walk this distance you would tire. I tell short but long stories in my paintings. Like a documentary, most of my paintings are related to the activities of that period, especially the political ones.

Let’s come to the Mediterranean Effect. While all of the things I have mentioned above come to life, the most important issue that concerns the painter is what he looks at and in which light the things he perceives appear to him. I worked in Istanbul for years. In homes, in workshops, the light you always know is the Istanbul light. At the age of 42 I moved to a deserted village in the Mediterranean, without a view of the sea, roasting under the heat of the summer, full of cactuses. There was no water, no electricity, no phone. Cell phones weren’t invented yet. How can an artist not be dazzled in such an environment? Then that light begins to penetrate into your being. You get used to. You don’t necessarily have to make gleaming blue paintings, but the Mediterranean slowly transforms you, bringing you to the simplest form of actualization. Whatever subject your working on leads to the Mediterranean, you look at the world from there. When you paint, you paint with its spirit and it’s like you’re getting away from art and getting closer to painting. I think every painter should cross the Mediterranean and even live there for a period. This is a professional requirement. Oh, by the way the 2160 meters of that 1 kilometer long painting came to life in the Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile, oil painting is the most beautiful material in the world. Sculpting stone and wood is beneficial for the artist, sobering. The taste and lust of mud sculpture and bronze pouring are completely different, especially if they place it in the city square. When you see the huge monument illuminated in the Mediterranean night, you say, “wow did I bring that to life”. That is the effect of the Mediterranean.’