The Sleep of Endymion

Ruken Aslan

4 April- 30 April 2015

Kokteyl: 4 April Saturday, 18:00

Gallery FOYART

No other theme has been so central a focus of attention as the theme of the human body in the history of art and culture. When considered in the context of “the representation of the body”, the idea of the integrity of body and soul in art may as well be understood as a process of the liberation of the objectified body. Art offers us the possibility to understand the meanings imposed on the body through building patterns of images peculiar to itself. At this point these patterns of images, transforming into symbols, offer themselves as the “object-body” found by the artist.

Ruken Aslan’s recent works, in the context of the representation of the male body in art history, are quite arresting in their depiction of the male body shaped in flesh and bones and welded somehow to the artist’s dreamlike fantasies of her own.

Aslan is one among the artists in Turkish painting, whose work is built around the patterns of body images. Hers is a continuous process of reconstruction of the male nude which, nevertheless, are not completely naked, from a perspective marked by a spiritual symbolism. The figures are presented, with a critical approach, as objectified masses of bodies, dissociate from the ancient culture of sexuality and not evocative of a desire for the male body. Their surface presence within a context of uncertainty and placelessness exposes them as tragic appearances, vagrant, unsupported and submissive.

The dominant motivation in the interrelationship of these bodies is not “interaction” but a tendency to lean against. Although their togetherness evokes a sense of continuity in the spectator, they, nevertheless, are a series of appearances discordant with each other. Why this is so may be explained on the ground that the values produced by the culture of 20th and 21st century resulted in the dissemination of the human profiles and the destruction of the once-unproblematic hierarchies of roles within the context of present societal orders. Particularly notable is the fact that the male body in these paintings is charged with images of impotence, disidentification, passivity and indistinctness and seems to function as a socio-instrument. In this context, along with its function as a sexual and erotic instrument, it also reveals itself as a metaphor making references to the existential issues of our times with its capacity to create psychological tensions. It is around these notions and tensions that her fantastic-realist approach urges the spectator to question these bodies which are isolated from nature and posited in a place marked by indistinctness whereby they move bending and leaning.