Dövmedeki Çizgiler: Zeynep Mar ‘A Grotesque Phantasmagoria’

Zeynep Mar, Tattoo drawing

Resimlerinde müstehcen konulara eğilse de aslında çekingen birisi o, becerikli, zerafet sahibi, titiz çalışmalarıyla genç yaşta kendini gösteren yeteneklerden Zeynep Mar; onu resimleriyle tanıdık ama gelin görün ki dövme konusunda da bir o kadar iddialı, yarattığı karakterlerdeki ürkünçlük, absürdlük bizlere ne kadar da yakışıyor. Fantastik yaratıklar, cinlere karışmış çocuklar, tuhaf hayvanlar, kötücül varlıklar, iblisler, ifritler, ucubeler ve envayi çeşit garipliğe rastlamak mümkün onun çizgilerinde, her bir karakterin stilizasyonuyla vücuda işlediği bu mikro-evrenler, gözlerimizin önünde canlı birer tiyatroya, grotesk bir fantazmagoriye dönüşüyor adeta.

1994 İstanbul doğumlu genç ressam, Avni Akyol Güzel Sanatlar Lisesi’ni bitirdikten sonra 2012’de Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Fakültesi resim bölümünü kazanıyor ve 2019 yılında mezun oluyor. Uygulamalı atölye olarak fresk seçiyor ve okul dönemi boyunca serigrafi, gravür, lif sanatı ve ebru derslerini alarak kendini geliştirmeye devam ediyor. Yurt içi ve yurt dışı olmak üzere birçok karma sergi ve fuara katılan sanatçı aynı zamanda çizimlerinden nakış yaparak da bir çok iş üretmiştir.

Zeynep Mar, Tattoo drawings
Zeynep Mar, Tattoo Arts

Zeynep Mar, 60x45cm, Kağıt üzerine akrilik, 2021
Reptilian Mar, 2020

Conversation with Zeynep Mar, Multidisciplinary Istanbulite Artist

Çağla Bölek March 2019

Zeynep Mar is a young artist who is currently based in Istanbul. Born in 1994 in Istanbul, the painter begins to study painting at the age of 10. After studying at Avni Akyol Fine Arts High School, she won the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts Faculty painting department in 2012 and graduated in 2019. She chooses frescoes as a hands-on workshop and focuses on self-development by taking classes in serigraphy, engraving, fiber art and marbling throughout the school term. The artist, who participated in many group exhibitions and art fairs in Turkey and abroad, also produced many works by embroidering from his drawings.

Although she tends to obscene subjects in her paintings, she is actually a shy person. Zeynep Mar is a resourceful, graceful, and talented artist who showed herself at a young age with her meticulous work; we know her with her paintings, but come see how ambitious she is about tattoos, and the eerie and absurdity of the characters she creates suits us. It is possible to come across fantastic creatures, children mixed with demons, strange animals, evils, freaks and all kinds of strangeness in her lines, the micro-universes that are embroidered into the body with the stylization of each character, transforming into a living theater, a grotesque phantasmagoria in front of our eyes.

Zeynep Mar, Tattoo drawings
Zeynep Mar, Tattoo Arts
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Zeynep Mar, Nakış/ Textile works (2018)

“If I had the chance I would like to learn all the fields and match them with my works.”

Zeynep Mar is a striking young artist who is currently based in Istanbul. We talked about her inspirations, working process, and her divergent style. Enjoy the ride!

You create in various fields; painting, illustration, embroidery… Can you interpret your style and elaborate your technique? 

I have always been fond of variety. I do not think that one should focus solemnly on one area, at least I know that I cannot. I paint since I was a child and then I got the painting education but after a while painting only fell short. It is like eating apple everyday or looking from the same perspective. Jumping one field to another gives me peace because when I turn back to the old works that bored me then, I have a clearer, purer approach and find the right angle with new accumulations. It is a loop inside me. One might think that multiple fields can block progression but for me, everything is connected. If I had the chance I would like to learn all the fields and match them with my works.

Zeynep Mar, Nakış/ Textile works (2018)
Zeynep Marr (64) dekupe
Zeynep Mar, Tuval üzerine akrilik (2017)

What does your carnivalesque, bright and bold usage of colors mean to you? What is your relationship with colors?

Simplicity is not so close to me. I always want to be a productive artist but my exhibited works are not many. Actually, it is related to the difficulty of the creation process. When the moment comes I feel the excitement of a four-year-old with chaos in my head, I want to express everything and match coherent fields together and afterward feel the relaxation of that newly formed chaos. Perhaps it is related to my age and what is being experienced. I cannot be sure what kind of evolution would take place in the future…

Zeynep Mar, Tuval üzerine akrilik (2017)

I see repetitive figures and conceptions in your works. Such as women from different cultures, psychedelic effects, and nudity. Can you talk about their meaning for you? 

Woman figures and portraits are something I often use and nudity because of my academical past maybe. I haven’t thought about why I paint nudity but aren’t clothes boring? There are already dresses on everyone and everything… Those figures and conceptions are my experiences, emotions, and dreams as I am at some sort of a dimension and apparently my work here still continues. Those repetitions are not disturbing and it is okay to mingle around until they reach the next dimension. Aesthetics have been examined for centuries and consciousness is present right from the start and we question the cause of existence. All of these are fundamental, special and personal. Things that open to interpretation.

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Zeynep Mar, Tuval üzerine akrilik ve posca (2017)

My style is not particularly Eastern or Western, the goal is to find the balance between the two.

In an earlier interview of yours, you mentioned that East Asian cultures and combinations of the opposition are inspiring for you. Considering your creative process, can we say that co-existence and acceptance of diversity are necessary in order to form a complete artwork? 

Yes. Different range of emotions, different materials, the unity of different ways of expressions… In the end, the universe consists of these and everything becomes more beautiful with solidarity. I believe it is important to accept and embrace it.

Your last group exhibition was at Mecra titled ‘Aysel Gürel Sergisi’. Aysel Gürel was a colorful, local artist that labeled as ‘marginal’. How was the experience of visualizing her as a radical and protest artist like yourself?

I haven’t been painting for a long time and haven’t been participating in an exhibition. So, when the invitation came I was delighted. Her personality accommodates with my style easily. Because I think her as a mother, a hard-working woman, with working ethics of her own and also a woman that doesn’t care about social pressures and doesn’t have regrets. There is not a single personality and a single role in life and Aysel Gürel is a good representation of it. After I found a suitable composition for her the rest flow fluently. I took a break from embroidery and felt a strong urge towards painting because of this work. It became one of the rare works that satisfied me.

Can you talk about opportunities and disadvantages of being a rebellious young artist in Turkey? 

My works did not put me in a rough situation before. I often receive positive criticism and the negative ones mostly are from my school in which I can see their points. I am glad about my current position. It is necessary to experience the conflict of extremes if the aim is creating something distinctive. Focusing on one area might harm the holistic point of view. My style is not particularly Eastern or Western, the goal is to find the balance between the two. Also when the study material is the self, process flows easily. The key is to continue… I have some projects in mind to work on. Also, I plan to attend Base this summer and I am open to exhibition invitations.

Interview by Çağla Bölek, March 2019 / yabangee – All photos courtesy of the artist.

For more information and contact:

Instagram: ZEYNEP MAR

Tumblr: ゼイネップ


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