At the Atelier with Burak Ata

Toplumsal cinsiyet, kimlik, cinsellik ve beden konuları üzerine eğilen sanatçı, cinsel kimlik ayrımlarının keskin olmaması gerektiğini vurgulamak adına, resimlerinde de modellerini bulanıklaştırıyor, ayırıyor ve böylece sınırları yumuşatıyor. Toplumun belirlediği ana şekillendirmeler üzerinden yola çıkan Toraman, birey üzerinde baskı kuran ayrımları, resimlerinde kendi diliyle ifade ediyor.

Toraman, kadın ve erkek kategorilerini nasıl anlamlandırdığımız ve ayırdığımız üzerinde durarak, bu ayrımın bu kadar keskin hatlarla ayrılamayacağını söylüyor. Aynı kimlik kartlarımızda olduğu gibi, resimlerinde kullandığı kadın ve erkeği sembolize eden bebek mavisi ve uçuk pembe tonlarıyla cinsiyet kategorilendirmelerine vurgu yapıyor. Kadın ve erkek portrelerini birleştirerek cinsel kimliğini okuyamadığımız androjen portreler yaratıyor ve bu portreleri kusursuz olarak bize gösteriyor; bu anlamda cinsel kimsiksizliği yüceltiyor. Özer Toraman ile atölyesinde buluştuk…

Röportaj: Polen Korkmaz

Burak Ata is one of the names we have followed for a while… Born in 1989, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and the education process at Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna were stops that contributed to the formation of his artistic style…

Ata, who is preparing to realize many other projects after the “First Viewing” exhibition at ArtSümer, and whose works we will see in project exhibitions in the coming months, is among the promising names on artnivo.com. We visited Burak Ata’s studio for the Artnivokers.

Özlem Ünsal: Can you tell us about the production process of your paintings? What kind of working style do you have?

Burak Ata: First of all, I am obsessed with something in a pictorial (plastic) sense. As the supporter of the plastic integrity I want to create, the things that I focused on and nourished me at that time appear as the subject of my painting. I refer to works and artists in the history of art, this reference point combines with the section taken from my own life and turns into a new composition. Thus, historical and iconic subjects are incorporated into everyday scenes… This provides a new but timeless language. What is difficult for me is to combine the contemporary with the historical and ensure that they melt into each other or maintain their existence separately.

ÖÜ: Your works we have seen so far is predominantly painting. What techniques do you use?

BA: I took a break from oil painting for a while and made collages and watercolors for a long time. You can feel this in my works on canvas. Oil painting on canvas is my preferred technique. But this time the effect of collage appears not technically, but as composition. That’s why you can see divided areas in the compositions of my paintings, and sometimes I even use fragmented canvases. In addition to oil paint, different techniques come into play, I also have works in which I use printing and oil paint together…

ÖÜ: In your works figure is always present, can we call your paintings figurative?

BA: There is usually a figure in my paintings, but the main element is not the figure… The figure always exists with the space in my works. On the other hand, sometimes it is just a detail of the subject. In the last series I made, there are almost no figures and the landscape dominates. Recently, typography has been included in my works. The writing, the figure, the space are all together and in a different temporality… This is a result of my collage history; by creating visual chaos, I like to confuse myself and the audience.

ÖÜ: Your atelier is in Yeldeğirmeni. How long have you been here? Why did you choose this place?

BA: I have been living and working in Yeldeğirmeni for seven years. In the first 5 years I lived with Sabo. When the paintings grew in size and moved on to a more intense work process, we separated and held separate ateliers one street apart. I wanted a large space with high ceilings. The area I currently use as an atelier is 100 m2. It used to be the place of Çamlıca Musical Society… In the early days when we lived here, there was no one from the art circles, but now there are names such as Mustafa Horasan, Ali Elmacı, Toygun Özdemir who have an atelier in Yeldeğirmeni. Thus, the face of this place has changed, rents have increased, cafes and design stores have been opened…

ÖÜ: How much time do you spend in your atelier, when do you work?

BA: I am the assistant of Seçkin Pirim four days a week. Other than that, all the time is spent working for myself.

ÖÜ: Isn’t this place also your home? Does this give you an advantage?

BA: Yes, it always directs me to think and work more on my work.

ÖÜ: You also have a cat…

BA: Yes, her name is Maya.

ÖÜ: What are your must-haves in your workshop?

BA: My computer, coffee and artist books…

ÖÜ: How did you go to Academia di Belle Arti di Bologna? What were its contributions to your art?

BA: I went with the Erasmus program and stayed for 6 months. I can’t say that I love the school very much, Italy is not as lively and nurturing as Istanbul, both in the contemporary art scene and as a school. But Italy caught me elsewhere. I had the opportunity to see many paintings that I learned in art history up close for the first time. Bologna is a cold and expensive place, so I was either visiting museums or painting at home. I also had the opportunity to go to Rome, Florence, Venice, Barcelona, Madrid and Paris to visit museums… All these museum trips became a school for me. All the work I produced there was a breaking point for me.

ÖÜ: Why?

BA: My paintings were academic and static under the influence of my entire education process from Fine Arts High School to university. I had the opportunity to visit and see contemporary art exhibitions as well as the Renaissance period works I saw in museums. Therefore, the relationship that my mind established with new works brought a novelty to my works.

ÖÜ: Can you talk about your future projects?

BA: We are holding a pop-up exhibition called “Signs of Time II – Outer / Dream” at AdaHan. HuoRf, Sena, Burak Dak, Merve Morkoç, Sabo and I are together in the exhibition, which will reach the audience on April 25.

In addition to that, we are holding an exhibition with Sabo and Toygun Özdemir under the title “Ortak Salon”, which will be opened on 29 May at Gallery Tankut Aykut.

I plan to carry out a project in which I will show my personal production at a different point in the next October – November.

ÖÜ: How do you see artnivo.com? How did you decide to take part in an online art platform?

BA: Sharing my work with the audience is a very important issue for me… In this context, the door of my atelier is always open, the locals can come in and look at it, the audience too… I’m open to people seeing and talking about my work. I think the era of being closed to the studio and painting as a bohemian artist, opening an exhibition every 2 years and only showing works in the exhibition is over! Why should we stick to limited calendars when we are constantly producing?… In this sense, artnivo.com offers an environment where the door of my atelier is always open to everyone, increases the visibility of my work, and being online allows my work to reach hundreds of people. I am someone who exhibits my works on the online platform, my portfolio is also available online. As the world goes digital, we could not refuse it…