Turkish artist Taner Ceylan’s Lost Painting Series opens this September at Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York. Running 18 September until 26 October, this will be the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery. Well-known for his provoking and emotional realism paintings, Ceylan began this collection as a contemporary exploration of the Orientalist gaze in all its facets. Subverting both western and eastern master narratives, the images depict Eastern figures in a fascinating navigation of history, power and stories.
One of the works is Esma Sultan, Ceylan’s depiction of an 18th century Ottoman Princess, renowned for her cruel disposition. This piece draws on the empowering mythology of passionate, ruthless and assertive womanhood that characterise accounts of her life. Giving a visual life to feminine agency and even social transgression as at the heart of history, Ceylan interrogates the historically invisible. Searching through the past, the artists makes strong comments about the present and the Lost Paintings Series brings together forgotten characters and voices that embody the many silenced by both Orientalist and official nationalist histories.
The subjects in Ceylan’s practice vary, he incorporates a whole cast of characters in this collection; an Ottoman man gazes defiantly, cigarette in hand; a pair of male lovers betray a chaste farewell and a veiled woman stands before Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde. Curated by Dan Cameron, the works reflect technical precision while also exploring layers of emotion and meaning.
Taner Ceylan: Lost Paintings Series, 18 September – 26 October, Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 W. 27th Street, New York, NY 10001.
1. Taner Ceylan, Cage of Flesh (From the Lost Painting series), 2012, 180x160cm, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.