Interview: Sinem Bozkurt
Luca Curci talks with Sinem Bozkurt during BARCELONA CONTEMPORARY 2021, 2nd Edition, at Valid World Hall Gallery.
Sinem Sezgin Bozkurt is a contemporary Turkish painter who lives and works in Istanbul. Bozkurt uses acrylic, oil paint, and stencils to create her work. She takes visual fragments from art historical references, fashion magazines, illustrations, family photographs, and online sources, then forms composite paintings of hybrid figures. Her work is mainly concerned with sexual identity, self-image, and social constructs in contemporary culture.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Sinem Bozkurt – After graduating from university, I lived in Florence for a while and that experience has a huge impact on my choice to pursue an art career. In 2018, I attended Drawing and Painting Program at Florence Academy of Art New York, where students work from life under natural north light, in the tradition of the masters of the past such as Rembrandt, Velázquez, and Sargent. In FAA, they teach you to translate nature in a visual way that is both anatomically accurate and artistically beautiful. During that time, I was also attending the first painting classes at New York Academy of Art and color theory classes at New School which were important parts of my training to thoroughly comprehend forms and visual impact of colors.
From my perspective, the ideal society should be the harmonious unity of a spectrum of identities existing in peace. Gender, belief, and lifestyle should all be the reflection of one’s own will. Unfortunately, it is a utopian thought. The absurdities experienced in society provoke and push me to discover a visual language that merges what is beautiful and what is grotesque. Basically, the method I use while creating my work combines the fragments and explores a visually interesting and repulsive form. Each fragment gives you a different perspective and helps to bring out unity.
LC – What are you currently working on?
SB – I am currently working on a series of paintings for my upcoming solo show that will occur between April 30th to May 31st, 2022 at Ferda Art Platform in Istanbul. The issues about gender are the main focus of the show: fearing sexual identities, objectifying the woman’s body, perpetual patriarchal cruelty. I am so bothered and infuriated by the fact that people don’t appreciate each other’s lives. I commit myself to establish a visual representation that evokes compassion, understanding, and love. I’m optimistic and I believe the wounds will be healed.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
SB – Yes, they specifically focus on gender and social identity issues.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
SB – My artistic style hasn’t changed much over the years but I can say that it got much more sophisticated. I am very inspired by the methods of surrealists and Dada artists who constantly tried to expand the limits of the mind and discover new artistic possibilities. While I work, intuition is a big part of my creative process. Fragments of images are coalesced piece by piece through addition and subtraction. It resembles the old Le Cadavre Exquis game but played by a single collaborator. A continuous experience of inventing and re-inventing the work until it reaches a level where I discover balance and integrity.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
SB – Relief and a bit of sorrow since I feel very connected to my work.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
SB – I attended BC21 with my work called “The portrait of a quarantined woman” which I completed during the pandemic. It was a part of my preexisting works.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
SB – BC21 focuses on the relationship between body and space and also addresses the infinite ways of expression. I personally felt connected with the idea. From my point of view, “Mixing Identities” as a concept refers to the freedom of self-expression and independent personal choices.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
SB – I’ve recently been acquainted with Itsliquid platform and its wide range of art events. I think what Itsliquid platform accomplishes by uniting artists and art lovers around the world is admirable.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
SB – Yes, I do. The selected works get the opportunity to be represented at shows in different countries and be presented to multiple collectors.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
SB – Yes, I did. Thank you.