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Taner Ceylan: 1997-2009
Foreword by Ferzan Özpetek. Text by Dan Cameron.
One of Turkey's most prominent artists, Taner Ceylan makes hyperrealist paintings that bespeak absolute technical mastery and precision, but which are also freighted with an emotional and sexual dimension usually absent from the genre--qualities that have set him apart from the prevailing tendencies in contemporary Turkish art, and which at times have also brought him outright abuse in the press. Ceylan's paintings occupy a register somewhere between the mutely homoerotic (as in his portrait of a bloodied and perspiring boxer--possibly an allegory of the artist's own trials) and the overtly sexual (to enter his website “you must be at least 18 years of age” ). Curator Dan Cameron, who has championed the painter, orients him in a tradition of sexually explicit art stemming from Robert Mapplethorpe to Jeff Koons, but points out that the implicit argument of Celyan's work is “a romantic arguing for the wholesomeness of gay male sexuality.”
"Ömer and Ali features two nude men caressing against an impossibly futuristic railing which separates their spacious balcony form the beach below. Everything in this picture confirms that it is as artificial as an animation, but no more so than countless ads featuring an equally aroused man, woman, or male-female couple."
Dan Cameron, excerpted from We Don't Know Who We Are in Taner Ceylan: 1997-2009. Featured image, Taner Ceylan's Ömer and Ali, 2003, is reproduced from Taner Ceylan: 1997-2009.
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FROM THE BOOK
"The precision of Taner Ceylan. It is a precision that does not lie merely in the authentic reproduction of a face, a body, a splatter of blood or sperm, or a glass of water, but in what's yielded--in a disarmingly clear and beautiful oil painting--by an impalpable feeling. For me, Taner's is a precision of a wholly sentimental nature. It's the ability not to reproduce but to reinvent--by observing reality--the life that lives hidden in the details. An artist's job is always to show that which we often fail to see with our own distracted eyes, to discretely indicate that there's another light, another glance, another sense in the things and people before us. In his paintings, bodies are different from those we usually glimpse, yet they are the same. Objects are animated by a new meaning. Apparitions and epiphanies--at times sensual, at times sexual, at times disenchanted and therefore abstract--are imposed upon the beholder's eyes as new elements in the landscape. That body, that window, that glass, that anatomical detail, have always been there; yet now painted by Taner Ceylan, they do not merely appear
different, they are
Ferzan Özpetek, excerpted from God is in the Details: Taner Ceylan's Paintings in Taner Ceylan: 1997-2009.