Library of
Design, Art and Idea

Ahmet Doğu İpek Interview

Vol. 8

"After a certain stage, the picture decides itself how to progress. The structure itself that I previously drew guides to the structure that I will draw as to how it should be, and the previous one to this."

First, Could Ahmet Doğu İpek himself tell us his story? How did the process of stepping-into-the-art start for you, is it on the rails at the moment as you predicted? Or else do you say “Is it a sad state of affairs for me now?" I guess it would not be probable to clarify the stepping- into-the art process with a single incident. It ıs a cliché, as you recognize, but performing art is a process that starts with playing and transforming something in childhood. People would make everything for themselves in the city where I was born; house, clothes, roads, gardens, hair, carpets... Since there is no industry to provide you with the production and sales of the products in the vicinity, everybody had to have the skill and experience in meeting their needs. As well as doing their jobs, everybody would improve themselves on at least one subject or situation, becoming craftsman. These masters would come into the play where your experience could not be sufficient. For example, you can erect a house with masons, but, you also need another craftsman for roofing, another for woodwork, and another for plaster. I grew up in such a place where I would watch and partly be included in these. There is also no breaking point for me as saying "I'll spend my life hereafter producing art". This "state of stepping-into-the-art" is not a strategic decision for the rest of my life, I just made it as motivational, I cannot remember now :) Indeed, since my childhood, I remember pondering drawings and three-dimensional objects, however, that I seriously paid my attention to the subject coincided with my high school years. An then the art education that I received in the university, postgraduate confusion,various confrontations, meeting with different persons and workshops, books, readings, movies, mostly the testimonies and experience regarding my childhood as I explained above, and ... Of course, I'm satisfied with what I am doing now. I suppose it would be pertness to state otherwise. Where are you performing your work currently, Do you have any workshop belonging to you? I am currently working at my home-studio in Aynalıçeşme, Beyoğlu. My studio does have much resemblance to the customary painter/artist studios; here is a small studio. I turned a 15m2 room of the house into a studio. The smaller the room I work in, the more I control myself, making my attention be focused on. Apart from the small sketches and scribbles, I work on the walls. Technically, I cannot hunker down to a new work without completing one work, I get confused and very rarely do two separate works at the same time. Seeing that the one wall is sufficient for me, I did not also need to rent a workshop outside. Contingent on the needs and works that I will do in the future, I can broaden the space or move somewhere else, of course. "Building Porn" series is comprised of the detailed works that take a long time to lookout. How can you achieve concentration in the production of these works? "Building Porn" series was one of my works that I worked on, pondered, and required a lot of labour. Completion of a picture takes two, sometimes three months. That is, it can be stated that I'm struggling with a picture in a small studio for months. I witnessed to the completion of a real building which started simultaneously before the completion of the picture. Everything starts with the forming a guide sketch consisting of 4-5 lines that roughly describes the image in my head. Everything except for this progresses on the surface of the paper that I portrayed and with a little bit of improvisation. After a certain stage, the picture decides itself how to progress. The structure itself that I previously drew guides to the structure that I will draw as to how it should be, and the previous one to this. The new works that I will do forms a basis for the following. And yet, it would not be false to compare the element that I drew first to the keystone in the domed structures. I twist every structure and everything around it, organizing all of these on this focus. At this very point, the work turns into a "game". This game ensures my concentration as well. A game with the infinite unknowns but its rules are imposed by us :) Oh, and also working at night, coffee and music.
You don’t use any colour except for black in your works, what is the reason for this? It should not be only a technical choice. If your composition depicts a pessimistic world in respect for the dystopian future, I frankly do not know which colour should be used here. Previously, I had works on which I used colours, I only paint black as very particular to "Building Porn". For this series, I consider the black colour to represent better the thing that I fictionalized in my head than any other colour. I can say it makes my job easier technically; a sheet of white paper and black paint, that's it. This actually is related to the above-explained way I work. The colourlessness in my works stems from the idea to re- build with a black line by degrading all my knowledge and information to a form of line, to black as a colour, almost to the point of zero. Recently, there is a heavy art bombardment on construction, urbanization, metropolitan life, what do you think about it? There should be an effective cause of this. I can understand this to a certain extent. More precisely, we cannot expect artists to remain indifferent to this issue, but it is useful to look at how the artist is positioning itself when handling these issues. It may take years that the produced art penetrates the daily life and influence on it, and it may be too late for this... The subject that we have been talking about has already strayed from the topic of an intellectual conversation or an architectural aesthetic. The subject has turned into a situation that we are frequently exposed to, effects our life, and even into a destruction that is taken place in our adjacent neighbourhood. And yet, I am not pretty sure how the art of this can be performed. However, a discourse can be developed through using the art facilities. "Ecumenopolis" movie was a good example for this. Just think about it, there is a monster in front of you only getting busy with destruction, however, it can grow by breaking down. How can you dissuade it, how can you calm it, and what can you tell it? You do not interest it. Besides, it doesn't listen to you anyway... There are times when the art is powerless: Even if the art prioritizes something, it would not effect on the other. Edward Said, who had been pondering the Middle East and Palestinian question, developed thinking, and predicted even in the times when this problem did not exist, takes a stone in hand- albeit symbolic- before the Israeli tanks which is the best example of this.I acknowledge the resistance of all kinds on this issue to be right and defend this. But, I'm of opinion that we should get a grip ourselves and should no show humanitarian reflexes on an appetizing subject for an artist. Of course, the subject has also a manipulative way. Having received art education same as you, a group of people who have been seeking to show this monster as nice and cute by utilizing the facilities of art. If your road accidentally crosses with the road of the monster, the first impression could be in a way that it is the oldest friend of mankind You have chances to participate in the overseas exhibitions, what differences do you see in comparison with the art circles in Turkey? In general, there are so many historical, geographical, political and so on factors affecting the art circles, I think it would not be correct to compare them with each other. On the other hand, the answer can be completely changed depending on which art circle element will be assessed by you; is it the production conditions of the artists, the support of the private sector or art and cultural policies of the state?.. The list may extend even more. Unfortunately, even if I did not witness to the production of the foreign artists, however, from the experience I had until now, the only thing I can tell there is a lot of support in the Europe and USA in the field of art as well as science and academia. To our regret, lagging unceasingly behind is the hump of this country not only in the field of art but also in every subject. In our country, the artists cultivates themselves. Perhaps, this could be a good thing though, but I am not sure, just think that we walk on the road the others go by car. If any specific event happens to you on the road and this does not make your journey meaningful, this would be only a walking. You would be left only with your fatigue. How did you start working with Sanatorium Gallery? What are the advantages of working with a gallery for an artist in your opinion? I've been working with Sanatorium for two years, since 2012. Sanatorium is a young gallery that shows more experimental work and has been transformed from a producing artist initiative. I was involved at the very time when this conversion process was taken place. There has been such an experiment as making headway together, working together, and even growing together. I find this to be precious. I must be kind of lucky in this regard. It would not be right to generalize in that this is my only gallery experience, but it seems somewhat inevitable to work with a gallery especially for the newcomers of this career. Because, after graduating from school, you need a mediator in order to lead you, exhibit your works, and introduce you to the group of international or local curators, representatives of the institutions and collectors. If you do not earn money through a way apart from art, this can become a must. Thank you...
Vol. 8
The Outstandings on the Virtual Erinç Seymen Interview