In his paintings, Fatih Dülger depicts images of nature as a mirror to human attitudes. He reflects human traces and attitudes towards nature by internalizing them. In this context, nature used as a metaphor is not perceived as an outside place but treated as an internalized extent. In addition to the infinite depth of nature, he produces paintings where traces of destruction can be seen as well. We had a conversation with the artist, who has been working with Art50.net for a long time, on the primary elements that he uses in his artistic practice and about his experiences.
Fatih Dülger completed his undergraduate and graduate degree from the Painting Department of Mimar Sinan University. He continues his Doctor of Art Program at Mimar Sinan University that he initiated in 2017. He works as a research assistant at the Conservation and Restoration Program at Mimar Sinan University.
The first thing that caught my attention while looking at your paintings were their titles. What or who do the titles of your works such as ‘Keeps’ ‘Wounds’ ‘Gives Sign’ represent?
The titles of my paintings, especially in the last series, represent the fictional states of the earth. The world in the view of Anima Mundi is regarded as a whole living being and is assumed to possess body, soul, and consciousness, just like human beings. In the context of this thought, the personified earth is in a kind of crisis today, caused by humanity, and reacts to get rid of this damage. Images that I depict reflect possible scenes of this process, while titles support the expression.
We see variable, different representations of nature in your paintings and the concept of void is considered as well. When we look at your paintings, would it be possible to consider the void as a pictorial space or a void in nature? Could you explain this briefly? What is a void according to you?
The concept of void is included in my paintings in many ways; primarily the void of the surface; the lack of an image, void; the untouched areas on canvas, uninhibited areas are visible in various places, followed by a compositional element; The void as a negative space always retains its value and there is also a concern about void that creates an extent in the sense of pictorial depth. These types of use are often intertwined and create a single and large void on the whole. Beyond the mentioned plastic values, the suggestion of positivism of existential philosophy and the interpretations of voidness that Taoism sees as the source of everything are all considered references to the content as well. When we look at the whole in terms of form and content, void for me is the continuity of a process of an unstable beginning and a point of destination.
When I look at your works the concept of spaciousness comes to my mind, but they also lead me to Japanese stamps with the naive attitude used to describe the nature, but on the one hand your nature is damaged and the color palette you use is neutral. How do you evaluate that? Can you tell us about your process of depicting the nature?
My view of nature, along with ecological sensitivity, is based on the traces of the human being in nature and on his sensation, so I consider the landscape as a figure. Nature is not represented as an outside place, becomes an organic reflection to represent a primary extent of man. The feeling of spaciousness was never something I would like to have in my paintings. Although the scarce use of the material and the simple language of my expression could cause this, the dominance of the void caused by the tension of balance is maintained and sometimes neutralized, and the palette serves it. Although this tension of balance differs in terms of a specific painting, I can say that it started to increase to be visible intensely. This means that metaphysical elements are strengthened along with the contrast of form and light to sharpen the expression of nature. Over more expressive attitude and intensive use of paint also become visible. The paintings I have started in Warsaw continued in this direction.
You have been collaborating with art50.net for a long time, it has been about 3 years. What do you think about being on Art50.net, in Turkey’s leading art platform? What kind of opportunities did you achieve within this platform?
We have been working with art50.net for a long time and the attentive behavior I have encountered since the first day, never changed, and this ensures our continuous relationship. As an artist, representing paintings’ visibility, especially during the production processes, can be disruptive. The most important advantage for me to be on art50.net is that this process is constantly followed. It is also effective in keeping ties with the art market up to date. I think art50.net represents an online gallery space in Turkey in the best way. It seems that our collaboration will continue in the same way with the exhibitions and events organized by the platform.
On 13 January 2020, an exhibition organized by art50.net, ‘Silent and Profound’ is opened at Swissotel Bosphorus and you are one of the participant artists. Which of your artworks are included in the exhibition? Could you briefly explain your works by relating them to the exhibition title?
Three of my paintings are represented in the exhibition, titled as; New Moon-New World, Wounds and Gives Sign. The title of the exhibition ‘Silent and Profound’ can be associated with many of my paintings. While in the works titled Gives Sign and New Moon-New Earth have thinner, volatile and profound depth, in Wounds, the atmosphere gets heavier, and the silence is about to get deteriorated with the fire element from the vertical depth.
Last year, to continue your studies you spent a year at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poland. How was this experience for you? How would you compare with the art scenes between Turkey and Poland?
The Warsaw period was a pleasant and fruitful process for me. The attitude of the Academy and the education system stands close to ours and I have adapted it easily. While the last paintings I made before going there were giving signs for the new intentions, I also had new ideas in my mind and I was able to realize them independently within a new and a different environment outside of my town. Although the Academy has a classical understanding, it accepts all forms of expression. We can see this clearly in the art environment, their ability to express is quite strong. In general, rather than the other qualities of the artworks, at first confrontation, visual characteristics create a striking and authentic feeling. Although it is a much smaller city compared to Istanbul, its opportunities are various and easily accessible, but it is not possible to see the diversity and liveliness of Istanbul’s busy exhibition and art calendar in the art scene.
Nowadays, for the young emerging artists in Turkey, many art competitions are organized and new opportunities are presented there are many collaborations of new initiatives to support artists. What do you think about this scene?
In recent years, various platforms, exhibition opportunities, and artist initiatives have emerged for young artists. Of course, I think these are opportunities to be exploited. Rather than the logic of competition and reward, it is more meaningful and efficient for me to create environments where artists can express themselves independently. On the one hand, the artists are now searching for alternative exhibition spaces outside the gallery and finding their ways.
While producing your artworks, apart from painting, did you ever try to sculpt something or use any other technique rather than using paints?
Sometimes an urge and excitement to express myself with different mediums emerge but in the end I always continue with painting because this is the medium I know the best and mastered. The various possibilities in the painting process are enough for me in many respects. During the production process, the methods and distinctive ideas that applied by the painters of the day increase my motivation and belief in painting, so there is still a lot of way to destination . I believe, in the current environment in which our lives are divided and broke into pieces, it is difficult to be determined and mastered in a certain material. I’m trying not to catch the tide, I’m going through the way I know for now, but in the future I can work in any other material and discipline I need internally, when I feel ready and competent.
Who are the artists you like and follow? If you were given a huge amount of a budget and could only buy one piece with that budget, from whom would you get?
The artists come to my mind are; Anselm Kiefer, Peter Doig, Nicola Samori, Neo Rauch, Liu Xiadong, Ruprecht von Kaufmann, Temür Köran, Hakan Gürsoytrak, Erdoğan Zümrütoğlu. I wish I had a sculpture by Auguste Rodin.
In addition to your identity as an artist, you are proceeding with your academic career at the University. Are you planning to continue as an academician? What kind of a future do you anticipate about your career?
Yes, I will continue to be at the academy. I hope to be able to manage a process in which I can balance my academic and artistic career in the future and maintain my productivity. Other than that, there are some various places where I would like to go and produce my works, it would be nice to be able to do this.
Click for the artist page.
Interview: Sena Arcak Bağcılar