Art historian and curator
YAPRAK AKINCI, YOUNG TALENTS
YAPRAK AKINCI, YOUNG TALENTS
A visit to the exhibition of the young painter Yaprak Akinci is a salutary experience, not only for its channelling of imagination and emotion, but also on account of that rare feeling the you are in the midst of an authentic pictorial talent. The show, which is currently being staged at the Cultural Office of the Turkish Embassy in Rome, is a whirlwind of acrylics on canvas that depict deserted landscapes, almost dreamlike visions that invite unseen nature to be interpreted.
“Remnants. What’s left of an era buried underground” is the alarming title of the exhibition, which gives the viewer an insight into the artist’s imagination, which is defined by scenes of dreadful solitude, in a world hit by an unknown catastrophe that has cancelled animal and vegetable life, albeit with the occasional enigmatic trace of buried civilisations.
Visions of a haunted future devoid of human presence are represented by immense spaces, oblique perspectives, troubling structures evoking archaeological remains and long, deserted motorways, serving to tell a macabre tale of self-destruction. Although the subject of her canvases is the world as it remains after unspoken devastation (perhaps nuclear war, a chemical disaster or even mass extinction), Yaprak’s works do not convey tragedy but rather a sense of dismay, evoking long-held fears stirred up in the most remote corners of the psyche. Perhaps these serve as a warning to modern man not to destroy a land of such beauty that, even in the wake of an apocalypse, is able to retain evidence of its ancient beauty.
The Turkish artist’s style is characterised by her exquisite sensitivity to colour in the subdued tones of the earth, the ultramarines and dusty blues, the ochres, whites and blacks. The incisiveness of her strokes, meanwhile, betrays her time studying graphics in Turkey, a quality that makes her paintings resonate with a continuing tension, both in the linear aspect that tends towards the infinite and in her skilful weaving of signs.
The artist’s form of neo-expressionism focuses on a return to painting, offering an emotional analysis of the history of her country and of the world, which is translated into images that evoke the end of an era but that also become metaphors for deep and unexplored inner solitude.
The endless horizons captured from on high, the vast clearings of uncultivated land but in particular the looming pyramid-like constructions are reminiscent of the hallucinatory pictorial visions of Anselm Kiefer. Unlike the German artist, though, Yaprak’s works feature neither alternative materials nor too obvious allegory.
Instead, her works convey an atmosphere of troubling silence – limitless space and unmoving time, without the possibility of change, stand for a melancholy and disconsolate sense of definitive “loss”. The need for synthesis and aesthetic essentials are the dominant force in her composition.
If artistic images are an instrument teaching us to view the world more carefully and critically, Yaprak Akinci’s works have this crucial effect, as by using sharp pathos to demonstrate the potential destiny of future human history, they raise fundamental questions in need of urgent answers.
Published online in 2015