Yüksel Arslan

Yüksel Arslan

Kunsthalle Zürich

Yüksel Arslan “Arture 186,” 1976/77.
Mixed media on paper, 73.5 x 108.5 cm.

January 26, 2012

Yüksel Arslan

28 Jan – 9 Apr 2012

27 Jan 2012

Kunsthalle Zürich at Museum Bärengasse
Bärengasse 20-22
8001 Zurich, Switzerland

T +41 (0)44 272 15 15
F +41 (0)44 272 18 88
info [​at​] kunsthallezurich.ch


Until recently, Turkish artist Yüksel Arslan (born 1933, lives and works in Paris) remained almost unknown to a broader public. In 1962, he left his homeland and went to live in Paris where he has worked ever since on a visual oeuvre by and through the reception of cultural, sociological, philo­sophical and artistic literature in his apartment. The exhibition at Kunsthalle Zürich presents for the first time a selection of over 200 works since 1959 outside of Turkey and focuses on the so called Artures, works on paper using a unique technique with special paints and being marked by an expressiveness that Eugène Delacroix has already looked upon as a typical characteristic of the orient. Thematically, the work is permeated by a confrontation with the relationship between thought and mysticism, between myth, science, and visual arts, and the philosophical, literary and musical currents which might be described as the foundation of Western thought, in the awareness that the knowledge anchored here could hardly have arisen without the experience of other peoples and cultures.

Arslan does not use classical paints, but mixes pigments with various vegetable extracts, bodily fluids, other natural elements (petals, grass etc.), and additional substances such as oil, coal and stones. This process of production is an important part of the pictorial invention process, and does not represent any separate preparation of the actual artistic work. In Arslan’s opinion painting, since the dawn of modern art, has degenerated into a medium whose origins numerous artists have increasingly neglected. Like Jean Dubuffet, the artist seeks to throw off the ballast of today in order to bring out what—before the beginning of a culture—constituted the “essence”. It is only the path via what has superficially been transcended by culture, but in reality only distorted, that allows Arslan to rediscover the pristine, which he then consistently venerates, for example procreation and sexuality. As he occupies himself with modern and ancient languages, history, philosophy, music and ancient cultures, he is familiar with the cultural “ballast”. Arslan has come to recognize that much of this does not reflect the essence of man. He senses similarities of the vernacular in the origins of cultures all over the world.

Arslan’s Artures are created in groups that unite not only socially relevant themes and questions, but also thematize the experiences that relate to his own life story. The three cycles with the titles L’Homme I – III, Le Capital are general in their approach, while the two series Influances I & II stand for the artist’s occupation with personalities and their achievements, which are not only relevant to his approach but also emphasize his great affinity to literature and music. In this sense he has cre­ated works relating to, among others, Johann Sebastian Bach, Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett, René Descartes, Sigmund Freud and Franz Kafka. In the series Autoartures, Arslan deals exclu­sively with autobiographical events: memories relating to his family and his background—the con­frontation with his own pristinity.

The exhibition is curated by Beatrix Ruf in collaboration with Oliver Zybok and will travel to Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Kunsthalle Wien.

Kunsthalle Zürich thanks: Präsidialdepartement der Stadt Zürich, Luma Foundation, Hulda und Gustav Zumsteg-Stiftung

Yüksel Arslan, Kunsthalle Zürich at Museum Bärengasse
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January 26, 2012

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