ERG√úL CENGIZ. Wahlverwandtschaften. 24.11.2006 – 23.12.2006

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english / deutsch

Galerie Reinhard Hauff is pleased to announce the opening of the first solo show with the Hamburg based artist Ergül Cengiz (*1975). The young painter was first presented at the Gallery in a 2004 groupshow “twinkle, twinkle“ with a wall painting executed together with Henrieke Ribbe and Kathrin Wolf—a trio also known as the „3 Hamburger Frauen“. Cengiz recently completed her studies at the Mimar-Sinan-Art Academy in Istanbul, at the Academy of Fine Arts in München and at the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst in Hamburg. In the upcoming exhibition “Wahlverwandtschaften“, Cengiz shows a series of new paintings in which large numbers of people or animals—mainly dogs, cats and birds—intermingle. The picture space flattens crowds upon an abstract ornamental surface. Without regard for perspective, distance and three dimensional references the anonymity of figures reduced to ornament takes on atmosphere from the often sombre and ominous colour schemes which harmoniously convert the figurative into dense, abstract patterns. Cengiz‘ comes with both a Turkish-Muslim background and its “non“—or “anti-tradition“ for figurative representation, and a German upbringing. For years, her paintings explore the convergence of the two cultural worlds: East and West, Islam and Christianity. Where our fundus of collective images typically illustrated scenes from the Bible, the abstraction of script as ornament is the soul of the Koran and the Muslim world.

Most of
Ergül Cengiz‘ paintings are relatively small sized. In them, she brings across memories, impressions, snap-shots of half forgotten events—using sometimes her own photographs, sometimes images from for example the publication “50 Years of Photo Journalism“. In her compositions, background and foreground are so radically foreshortened that any reference to space which might be visible in the photos she works from has been warped into ornamental surface patterns of paint layers optically hovering somewhere slightly over the canvas. Although the visual effect is one of patterned wall paper and abstract ornament, the overall impact is still predominantly that of an over-crowded figurate composition. The artist seeks to fuse worlds of often mutually conflicting influences, for which reducing the figurative to ornament and working with the significance of empty spaces, alternating thick paint layers with thin and transparent ones enhance both the shimmering effect of the paint surface as well as the mystery of these compositions. In almost every painting the artist appears herself somewhere within the composition. Often everybody else is shown from behind. Perhaps this is how the artist represents her position: on the threshold of the painterly tradition of the Orient and the Occident.