At the Atelier with Sabo Akdağ

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

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

Sabo: I have my own atelier for the last three years… I live and continue my production in the same place. Therefore, the time I devote to my own work can be quite flexible. I can also say that I am a little more flexible than those who spend regular hours in their atelier and produce. Having the luxury of setting my own working hours is the biggest factor in doing this job…

ÖÜ: What are your subject choices and materials you use in your paintings? What processes do you go through while creating your composition?

S: Actually, my painting or creation process is not separate from my life… My experiences, interests and situations that I am influenced by determine my subject choices. Sometimes, while focusing on a subject and starting the production process, other situations may arise and a comprehensive period of jumping from subject to subject and production emerges. Even though this confusion and differentiation tires me a little more, it is a situation that allows me to look at it from a different angle. I believe that every subject to be conveyed has a time, and I absolutely feel the need to transfer it when necessary. After the theme is determined, a detailed research and attention process begins. I read, watch, discuss… Of course, while doing these, patterns, collages and essays follow each other in parallel. All these different works that come together form the skeleton of the series that I want to create.

ÖÜ: Figure and architecture appear as the main elements of your composition, which one is more dominant? And what is the relationship between them?

S: I received academic training and I prefer to use this learning process in my work. The figures, places or subjects in my works are completely related to my life. I like to shape and change them according to myself. I can say that places go through the same process. In addition, depending on the general composition of the work and the situation I want to describe, there may be situations where the figures, the places they are attached to and the abstractions come in front of each other.

ÖÜ: Your atelier is in Yeldeğirmeni.. The ateliers of so many artists will almost form an ecole in this region. What are the effects of the environment on your production?

S: I have been living and producing in Kadıköy-Yeldegirmeni for a long time. In the early days, it was not yet a region that had changed so much. As time passed, the change started and this process definitely affected my production positively. We are now neighbors with my term friends and many people who contributed to my working process. Even though we all work in different places, we are all together. This togetherness also affects us in a positive way. Consulting is a very effective and important factor for me.

ÖÜ: What are your must-haves in your atelier? If you were to move to another atelier, what would you carry from here?

S: The layout inside my atelier is constantly changing with me. It is shaped in accordance with the works I did at that time, and I see myself in the same formation… When starting new works, I make great use of my library, which I created on my own and which I am trying to expand. Likewise, the internet carries this process to different dimensions and accelerates it. I also prefer my bike when I want to get away from this whole process. Having the luxury of being able to go anywhere by bike at any time saves me a huge traffic problem. If I ever move from here, I would like not to lose this comfort.

ÖÜ: You work with Horasan, what kind of experience is it? What did Horasan contribute to you?

S: I can say that working with an artist like Horasan has been a very educational experience for me. I look at this situation as an ongoing education process after school. He is someone I can get along with easily, who can share every subject he knows and has experienced without hesitation. He is an artist that I consult many times while producing my own works. I always have a chance to try a new material and see the results while in his atelier, I always see this as an opportunity that cannot be caught.

ÖÜ: Where would we see Sabo if we were imagining the future 5 years?

S: Frankly, I’m trying to plan more closely for my life for now. Long-term certainties scare me a little. We currently have two active and exciting artist formations with which we are working together and I am among them. We are constantly discussing new projects and trying to put them into practice with this team that I trust and enjoy working with.

ÖÜ: You are in an organization called ‘Signs of Time’. What are you planning to do together?

S: We held our second exhibition ‘Signs of Time’ in Adahan, it was a pop-up exhibition. Afterwards, we saw that we were doing something very exciting and enjoyable from the comments we heard, and we decided to accelerate our projects. Most recently, we will have an initiative stand reserved for us at Contemporary Istanbul. Our current work continues for the area in this fair. In addition, we held an exhibition at Tankut Aykut Gallery with our other organization, the OrtakSalon, during last June. We got good feedback. On the one hand, we hold meetings for new Common Hall projects.

ÖÜ: When do you foresee that you will be ready for the solo show? Do you have a plan?

S: I don’t have a solo exhibition plan yet, but since I treat my works as a series, I don’t think I will have much trouble preparing if such a development happens…

ÖÜ: As a part of, what has been the reflection of an online art platform for you? Can you make an evaluation for us?

S: Due to the age I live in, online communication is of great importance to me. I regularly use several online portfolio sites where I publish my work on the Internet. I find the opportunity to reach so many people over the internet quickly and to examine their works is very useful. is a very successful art platform for both exhibiting my works and providing consultancy. In the first pop-up exhibition called “Download”, we have seen together how many people this platform has reached. I hope that we will continue with good projects by reaching more people without any problems.