Interview with Eser Gündüz
Rica: Firstly congratulations on your latest exhibition in London. Can you tell more about the connection and difference between your two series “Fontaine” and “Metropolis”?
Eser: The main connection is, in short, the way in which concepts and ideas born in western civilisations change or completely disappear; this I’m directly linking to technological features of a given period in time.
The key issue that I focus on is how civilisations have interpreted the metaphor of darkness and evil through history.
What I depict is how a community’s collective imagination warps a concept or idea, especially negative notions. This is the common link between my “Fontaine” and “Metropolis” series however, in most other ways they are quite different.
In medieval times, Evil were imaginary things such as beasts and dragons that lived in the dark forests, mountains and caves, in the depths of the unknown world. This is what I depict in “Fontaine” works.
“Metropolis” showcases the Evil of the industrial revolution, a gloomy modern life where machines are responsible for human suffering. This is a reality where machines replace the old beliefs about evil.
In conclusion, fears evolves and changes its forms. I depict these evolving forms in my work; in “Metropolis” evil’s form is of colourless gears and circuits, meanwhile in Fontaine, evil mysterious, amorphous organic and greener.
2. We can often see both graffiti elements and realistic details in your works. How do you balance these two styles in your work?
My work is deeply based on research, I spend a lot of time reading and finding references that will help visually support my paintings, I find this to be extremely useful and key to my practice.
Researching in depth the topics of my artworks allows me to draw out connections, one of these is in between pictographic and typographic languages.
Overall, to answer your question: I am looking for balance. When looking at something only visually it’s easy to forget the fact that symbols like letters have meaning; in contrast; next to blots of paint, the dynamic regular forms of written word, create a very nice balance for my paintings.
3. You have worked and lived in multiple countries and regions, how has this cross- cultural, cross-context experience influenced your art?
Traveling, seeing new things, researching and being able to analyse other cultures as an artist is really important.
Seeing different cultures and beliefs always awakes new ideas.
I have always been fascinated by how different societies explain certain subjects, traveling has helped me discover this. Experiencing other cultures and ideas with an open mind is good for everyone, but it’s essential for an artist.
I try to live my life according to this understanding. I think there is great diversity in having a multicultural life and it is a perfect inspiration for my art. There are many deep cultures and beliefs all over the world. Therefore, placing yourself in a position where you can see these contrasts allows you to develop a unique perspective.
By being a silent observer, you set your mind and your hand free. This doesn’t only apply for big multicultural experiences such as living abroad. Although I live currently in France as a Turkish artist, I also change places for shorter time periods. For new ideas, what works for me is changing my surroundings; leading to novel inspirations.
4. Many contemporary artists think that the outer frame is a kind of imprisonment for the work, but you regard it as a part of the painting. What does this attempt mean to you?
Ever since I was a child, I’ve always found boundaries boring and annoying so I’m very use to breaking them when its warranted. With my work it’s exactly the same, art’s “rules” are there to be broken down. For me, a painting should be as a human soul, free and unbound.
Another limitation I don’t enjoy from traditional art is having to limit artworks to two-dimensions. I prefer to add depth to my paintings, creating perspective. This allows for visual play, akin to ancient roman theatres; making my work feel more alive.
5. You are absolutely popular on social media, has this popular attention influenced your creation?
Not too much, but sometimes social media makes me feel responsible for not painting enough, this is something I avoid taking seriously, as it’s not doing me any good.
On the other hand, I love to share my paintings with people, see their reactions as well as being close and accessible to them. I feel like sometimes through my paintings I give the audience something in their daily life, in a small way I get to be with them in their personal space.
This one-to-one communication is very rewarding to an artist.
6. I know you’ve launched your NFT collection, talk me more about it.
NFTs are a different world, it’s enjoyable because of how dynamic and full of surprises it is. My collection was very special and fun to create. Currently, I’m placing a lot of importance in enjoying nature and time outdoors; I’m also committed to painting physically as it’s something very familiar to me.
For now, I’m going to remain this way, but I’m not closed to creating more digital art in the future.