Interview: Ozge Gurkan
Luca Curci talks with Ozge Gurkan during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
“Hub Design is a New York-based art and design company with a focus on creating new perspectives for the projects; hospitality, corporate, commercial spaces or galleries. Our operating belief is that art unites us all, weaving together different stories, histories, perspectives, and cultural tendencies. Our international and authentic team consists of art and design consultants, artists, designers and architects. All the team has valuable experiences in their fields and mostly international success stories. Founded in 2018, we operate in art centers such as New York, London, Paris and Bogota. We love to create unique experiences for our clients which reflect their back stories to their customers”.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Ozge Gurkan – I studied at Istanbul University, Faculty of Russian Language and Literature and worked in the advertising industry and corporate communications field after university. During the years of my study, my fascination with the written language increased more while learning the Cyrillic alphabet. My interest in Calligraphy was born in those years. During my education, I focused on color and form experiments. Art and literature became more and more important in my life during my university years and I focused on the field of painting. Currently, I prefer to use calligraphy in abstract form by modernizing it in my abstract paintings. I love to act by going beyond the innovations, differences, diversity and usual forms, forms and rules in both writing and painting. I guess this is my hallmark.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
OG – The artist in me was always there but I decided to open myself after becoming a mother. Otherwise, painting and writing were with me all my life. I wasn’t courageous enough to open myself up to others. After I became a mother, I broke this timidity thanks to a word from my son. Since then, I have never hidden again. Art is where you reveal yourself, your desires, your fears, your weaknesses, and your whole inner world without censorship. And in order to do this, you have to come to a certain maturity, fight a lot of battles within yourself, and take a strong stance. Then I started to share my paintings and writings. I now create my work as an abstract expressionist painter.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it like your medium of expression?
OG – As a woman, I think we have different identities and many difficulties. As women, we have different roles in life as a mother, a spouse, as a Professional in business life. We have so many talents, so many colors, desires, skills. However, we may have to suppress these features in society for many reasons. As I stated abstractly in my paintings, there are some chains, cages, obstacles imposed on us that we cannot break. I interpret the feelings of people suppressed by prohibitions with cages, chains in my works. Under the layers, I reflect the colors of women. We have to break those cages and chains to reveal our inner colors. In my paintings, I actually describe them abstractly and I also present my inner world. This is the strongest feeling which had a significant influence on my work and I express this in my paintings. Every layer you see in my pictures is about me. About my essence… Actually, I still do not know the limits of this myself. I have many colors, some are visible and very close to the surface, some are still very deep, and I discover these layers with my paintings every day and enjoy what I discover. But I can say that my most dominant mood in this period is the feeling of rebellion and revolt against the pressures and restrictions imposed on us women, without giving up my own essence.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
OG – Painting is actually a state of meditation for me. I can say that I have completely returned to myself, to my inner world, that I do not act with any thought and plan, that I have stripped of all my identities, my simplest and freest form. At that point, what I draw inspiration from is always my inner world, my heart, and my feelings. Every painting has a story and I feel very much into this story during my work. It is full of intense feelings and thoughts, long working creative hours together with myself. I feel as if I completed a story when I look at my paintings, I see obstacles, pressures but at the same time bright colors, hope and courage along with many other feelings. I also wonder how much connection this story will establish with the art lovers and what feelings it will create in their hearts. Which story will they feel in their hearts and what kind of connections they will make with my painting? In my works, I wish the audience to confront what they push into their subconscious.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
OG – I am an abstract expressionist artist. In my paintings, I love to make people think, feel the messages I want to give and push their own limits. Technically, it is my passion to create unusual colors, textures and layers by mixing different materials. Being limited to one thing, repeating or imitating what happened does not support my understanding of art. Actual art achieves its purpose at the point where we can express ourselves freely, move beyond the teachings, act with our own language, technique, and manifesto. I have always followed this path for myself and I am moving forward. I keep changing and improving during this lifetime passion and even today I continue to study different techniques, materials and art history.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
OG – Your vision of art, the support provided by you to meet people and contemporary art, the opportunity you present for international artists to show their work is so valuable for me to introduce my work to international visitors, to follow the recent impressive work of art from all over the world, to catch up with the new visions, to meet with art lovers and to be the part of this magical ecosystem is priceless. As an artist working on different identities and feelings, I feel the theme of this year, the reflection of cities and societies on personal identity is very close to my approach. So I am happy to participate with my painting titled ‘Rebel’. My work titled ‘Rebel’ reflects the bleeding wounds of a woman and the dark times she is in.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
OG – Society and the cities they live in determine roles for women and people. Trying to live in accordance with these roles and the city they are in, sometimes the women feel under pressure and her freedom restricted. There is a different inner world within all this waiting to emerge. My work also emphasizes this.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
OG – I believe that collaboration with you is very precious as it helps to bring an artist to an international platform and meeting art lovers from all over the world. Contemporary art is global and deserves to be presented globally to everybody interested in art. Using the platform and exhibition to unite the art and architecture world provides a huge vision both to exhibitors and the visitors. So this is a valuable opportunity that every artist should enjoy.
LC – Do you think this exhibition can represent an opportunity for artists?
OG – Yes, I sincerely think that this is a huge opportunity for artists. Feelings, artwork and creativity are not limited with boundaries. The stories in the artwork do not have any languages so it can connect with its audience at the exhibition which is open to all art seekers from all around the world. The exhibition brings international opportunities.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
OG – Yes, very much and thank you very much for all your valuable cooperation. Being on the platform with more than 600 artists of many different disciplines from more than 40 countries was an exciting opportunity.