Overview
With a body of work spanning a number of decades, spent between Istanbul and Vienna, Kemal Seyhan (b. 1960) has adopted the painterly surface as his primary language, in order to convey a sense of the varieties of historical change through time. From his large scale canvases imbued with sculptural properties, to site-specific interventions, and his more recent graphite works on paper, the artist works within a deceptively restricted range—horizontal and vertical application of color on color. Yet the added layers here, one after another, in the form of an irregular stratigraphy, oftentimes executed over finished works from earlier years, reveals the patina effect in his work: The more layers of wet fresh paint are added, the more the bottomless depth of this chaotic, nonlinear time is exposed, but the point of departure is never again reached. 

Working beyond the depleted palette of European abstraction but also in parallel dialogue with modernism, Seyhan turns to the monochrome and the colorfield as a means to address himself to the history of art, from a perspective different than simply a chronology of ‘pictures’. Yet, instead of historical forms of the past, what the artist sees here is a novel method to excavate time through the pure material of painting—dark paint, graphite, canvas on canvas, the contoured space itself. Consequently, Seyhan is now able to move seamlessly between painting and experience, as if it were possible to describe the continuity between past and present as physical objects. Far away from the theoretical demands of conceptualism and the ends of painting, Seyhan’s work is largely anchored in the persistence of painting as a bodily activity, unmediated by narratives, seeking always new beginnings.
Works
Exhibitions
Biography

Kemal Seyhan, b.1960, Kayseri, lives and works in Vienna, Austria and Istanbul, Turkey 

Major exhibitions include; Kemal Seyhan, Pi Artworks London, UK(2021);Kemal Seyhan, Pi Artworks Istanbul, Turkey(2021); Untitled – Poetics of Inner Space (solo), Pi Artworks Istanbul, Turkey (2018); Syntax (solo) Osthaus Museum Hagen, Germany (2017); Freundschaftsspiel Istanbul, Freiburg, Museum for Modern Art Freiburg, Germany (2016); Ondas Negras (solo), GPLSpaceVI, Vienna, Austria (2015); 41 Meter (solo), Zorlu Center, Istanbul, Turkey (2013); Sieben Grengänge, House Wittgenstein, Vienna, Austria (2011); Kemal Seyhan (solo), Cora Hölzl Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany (2010). Major collections include; Ferdinandeum, Tiroler State Museum, Innsbruck, Austria; Arch Driend Collection, Vienna, Austria; Die Roland Madesta, Nürnberg, Austria; Istanbul Modern Museum, Istanbul, Turkey; Museum Evliyagil, Ankara, Turkey.

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