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Sotheby's to Exhibit In Turkey Highlights From Its Forthcoming Sale of Contemporary Turkish Art
Whispering Wall II by Burhan Dogancay, 132.1 by 182.9cm., 1985, acrylic on canvas. Estimate £120,000-180,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Sotheby's will be staging an exhibition of highlights from its forthcoming London Sale of Contemporary Turkish Art at the Marmara Esma Sultan, Yaliçikmazi Sok No: 20, Ortaköy in Istanbul, which will be on view to the public from 1pm to 6pm on Wednesday, 16 March, 2011. The exhibition will showcase a group of 12 pieces by some of Turkey's leading Modern and Contemporary artists represented in the forthcoming auction on 7 April 2011.

Discussing the Istanbul exhibition, Elif Bayoglu, Head of Sotheby's Turkish Contemporary Art Sale, said: "The exciting and vibrant art scene in Turkey continues to grow at a remarkable pace and we are thrilled to be returning to Istanbul in March this year. We will exhibit a selection of the rarest and most important modern and contemporary highlights from our forthcoming London Sale of Turkish Contemporary Art for our Turkey-based collectors and clients to preview ahead of the auction. We also look forward to welcoming art lovers and exhibition-goers alike, as these stunning pieces will be on view to the public on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 16th."

Akbank Executive Vice President in charge of Private Banking, Fikret Önder, commented: "As Akbank, we continue to organise and support events that bridge the gap between the financial sector and the world of culture&arts. We are glad to be associated as the sponsor of the exhibition that presents the most prestigious masterpieces/art works of the leading contemporary Turkish artists to the Turkish art lovers once again this year as we did in the past two years in cooperation with Sotheby's. We will continue with our support for art, artists and activities that help foster culture&arts in the society."

Exhibition Highlights Include:

Whispering Wall II is an exceptionally rare work by Burhan Dogançay, which he executed in 1985. In the early 1960s Dogançay turned his attention to the urban walls which bore witness to the emotions and opinions of the people during a time of drastic political and social changes. With his Ribbons series, this time he looked upon his own cultural roots and his Eastern background and Western life which came together to create this striking new series. The ribbons painted in bright colours are reminiscent of the letters of the Arabic alphabet and recall traditional calligraphic forms that shaped Islamic Art. The vibrant, rich blue background of Whispering Wall II, which the artist used on a limited number of works, is in a beautiful contrast with the bright red, orange and yellow ribbons which were always painted white on the other side. Paintings by Dogançay are in the collections of leading art museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. This exceptionally rare acrylic on canvas of museum quality, which is estimated at £120,000-180,000, has remained in the same American collection since 1985 and is arguably one of the most important works by this artist to come to auction.

Guns of War of Ansen Atilla is the second work from the artist’s monumental Civilizations Series and illustrates the arrival of European powers to the lands of the natives. It captures the first interaction between two cultures, when growing competition between Western Empires in the late fifteenth century encouraged explorers to take over trade routes and to find colonies. The triptych is a remarkable example of Ansen's unique technique, perfected since the early 2000s. Bringing digital art to a new level, he employs actual objects and materials in order to build up his compositions in real life, with digital technology applied for the finishing touches. Ansen is both an innovator and a commentator on cross-cultural themes, and Guns of War ­ a unique work ­ is a masterpiece by this internationally acclaimed Turkish artist. The C-print mounted on dibond with plexiglass face, triptych, measuring 170 by 225cm., is estimated at £22,000-28,000.

Hale Tenger is recognised as one of the most important conceptual artists of our time and the unique lead toy soldiers and plastic figure with sheet iron base sculpture Amidst, dated 2005, measuring 126 by 25 by 25cm., is an ingenious critique on the breakdown of social values, the increasing suppression of governments and the rise of military power and violence in today's world. Using ready-made objects throughout her career, Tenger imbues them with a new character, loading them with social and political meanings. In Amidst, a plastic toy with binoculars is placed at the top of a tall block of iron, surrounded by toy soldiers and standing at the centre of a circle. The binoculars provide the civilian with a glimpse of a faraway land, or a freedom-filled future, but the soldiers block his vision, trapping him within the spatial confinements of the iron block with nowhere to run. The title of the piece plays a significant role by providing an insight into the message Tenger hopes to convey. It is estimated at £30,000-40,000.

Ali Teoman Germaner’s Untitled is one of the artist’s most important and impressive sculptures from the early period of his career. Executed in 1957 and measuring 112 by 29.5 by 17cm., it draws together several defining elements that have shaped his output: his studies at the Istanbul Fine Arts Academy under leading Turkish sculptors who had recently returned to Istanbul from Paris; the sourcing of scrap metal from flea markets at a time when Turkey was not importing or exporting iron; visits to the Ancient Eastern Archaeological Museum in Istanbul to marvel at the Mesopotamian seals and tablets; and the vocabulary of the 1920s Constructivist movement, with its industrial, geometric and angular shapes. Untitled was the only Turkish sculpture selected to enter the First Paris Youth Biennale held in 1959, and it was an international stamp of approval of the artist’s outstanding talent. The work is estimated at £10,000-15,000.

1879, executed in 2011 and measuring 170 by 180cm., is from hyperrealist painter Taner Ceylan’s Lost Painting Series and tackles questions of history and Orientalism. It contrasts different but also connected histories of artistic definitions to rethink concepts of Orientalism, femininity, the veil and the gaze. This extraordinary masterwork by Taner Ceylan, which flawlessly depicts in oil paint on canvas a photograph which could well have been taken, is estimated at £50,000-70,000.

Works by Mubin Orhon from the Collection of Daniel Gervis

Mubin Orhon’s paintings arouse excitement and a sense of tranquility on the viewer. The affects of Eastern Philosophy and Mysticism are inherent in his paintings, bearing witness to his absolute concentration and devotion to create the most powerful compositions with a musical serenity. These four works from the Collection of Daniel Gervis, which date to 1962 and 1963 - extremely important years in Mubin’s career - can be considered the foremost examples of his instinctive understanding of colour and mastery of Lyrical Abstract Expressionism. They can be in a way considered to be the quintessence of his complete oeuvre.

Untitled, oil on canvas, 1963, 130 by 162cm., is an outstanding and extremely rare work from Mubin Orhon’s Hommage à Delacroix series, which he begun in 1963 after receiving an invitation to exhibit his work at a group show curated by Raoul-Jean Moulin in Paris. It included works by artists Asger Jorn and Antonia Saura, among others. This work which is among the most important works by Mubin in the Sainsbury Collection was the starting point of his Hommage à Delacroix Series. Balanced and mesmerizing in tones and composition, the soft curves created by long, controlled brushstrokes evoke a sense of chaos and warmth at the same time. The painting is estimated at £200,000-300,000.

A further 1963 oil on canvas, also entitled Untitled, measuring 150 by 149.5cm., is among the largest canvases by the artist and it is one of the most spectacular paintings by Mubin ever to come to auction and is estimated at £200,000-300,000. The twisting and twirling brushstrokes in contrasting warm and cold tones captivate the viewer in a type of meditation. The effect of light emanating from within the composition is strongest in Mubin’s paintings from this period. The dripping effect which was practiced by Sam Francis and Jackson Pollock are also at their most dramatic.

The intensity of the colours and the use of space are further explored in an additional oil painting, Untitled from 1963, measuring 130 by 162cm. The occasional greens, blacks, purples and dark blues contrast with the oranges, yellows and reds, but never clash or throw the balance of the composition. Despite having a sense of spontaneity, each brushstroke and colour is carefully calculated and planned in terms of what it can add to the harmony and overall intensity of the painting.

The final piece in the collection is Mubin’s 1962 oil on canvas, Untitled, which measures 72 by 99.5cm. and is estimated at £80,000-120,000. There is not an area on the canvas that is not filled with the artist’s layered, sensual brushstrokes. In Daniel Gervis’ words, “Mubin opened a new and personal style from 1960s onwards where he immersed himself body and soul into his works, becoming a true innovator.”.

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