Academician, architect, artist Sinan Logie, will meet the art lovers of Ankara for the first time with his ‘Samples of Topographies’ exhibition in Siyah Beyaz Art Gallery. Logie who pursues in his academic studies, the traces of intense construction activity in recent years in Turkey’s geography, will also carry these studies into his canvases.
While recording the city, streets, landscapes and architectural constructions, in his paintings Logie restructures these areas with his abstraction. He renders the traces left by the individual experiences and actions regarding to the city and opens to the viewer’s interpretation. He underlines the endless renovations, constructions and brutal urbanization created by the consumer society. When creating a map or an architectural plan the different scales are set in motion by the use of his unique abstraction. The artist, who indicates that he tries to explore “how to constantly abstract a truth and produce a new truth over it,” in his paintings and pushes his boundaries in each new series.
Logie’s art practice and architectural background; merges in an interesting way with his skateboarding experience. In addition to his observation and research on the cities, his habit of physically experiencing the city adds a performative dynamism to the artist’s canvases. ‘Samples of Topographies’, will be a monochrome exhibition in which the artist uses solely black and white. Logie, with the third dimension that he created by adding new textures to the paint, brings together new layers to his oil paintings and canvases by using blocks of the materials that are actually the elements of construction, such as paraffin and sawdust on paper.
MELİS GOLAR : In February 2018, you opened a solo exhibition titled ‘The Elementary Particles’ at Öktem Aykut Gallery. A short while later, you will meet with the audience of Ankara for the first time with ‘Samples of Topographies’ exhibition at Gallery Siyah Beyaz. We are confronted with your new series. Could you mention a little bit about the transition process between these two exhibitions and how ‘Samples of Topographies’ came to be?
SİNAN LOGIE : For years, I have been trying to connect all of the works I produce with the mental states of my life, under the title of ‘Fluid Structures’. I define each step of the production as a new “phase”. The ‘The Elementary Particles’ exhibition was an expression of the urban situations and the activities of construction that I have experienced in Istanbul. It was about my walks in the city and its peripheries. In the ‘Samples of Topographies’ the wide landscapes affected me where I have recorded during my frequent travels on the roads between Istanbul and Ankara either by car or by airplane. Both series relate to the tracks of intensive construction and infrastructure projects going on in our country but their scales are different. While the first one looks through the intense urban texture of Istanbul, ‘Samples of Topographies’ is an interpretation of human traces on the Anatolian plateau. Beyond criticizing it, there is a material selection and texture specific to the space where each exhibition will embrace. I may say that whereas the works in Öktem Aykut were in search of a vibration with the gallery’s mostly exposed concrete new space in Şişhane, now in this exhibition Gallery Siyah Beyaz’s abstractness, the monochrome marble fireplace in the middle have formed the axis of my search for integrity with the space.
M.G. : You are transferring your architectural knowledge and physical performance to the canvas without surrendering to the yield of the materials you use for implementation. The concretion of your architectural background with skateboarding is reflected in your art at this point. Can we conclude that the motion on your canvases are an expressionist attitude in relation to the city?
S.L. : The skateboarding discipline has derived from wave surf, a tradition of thousands of years which has started in the Polynesian Islands. In Polynesia, surfing is expressed as “He’enalu”, and corresponds to the meaning of ‘’merging with the wave’’ or ‘’sliding on the wave’’. I mean, I compare the skateboarding practice that I have been pursuing for many years to a bodily and existential struggle to become one with the city. During this effort, the energy that you share with the city and with the citizens returns to you somehow and changes you. In the skateboard world we say: ” No pain, no gain ”. It can be said that I maintain the same attitude on my canvases and paintings.
M.G. : When I dig into your work spanning from the past up until today, I see new layers added new dimensions into your canvases by using construction materials like sawdust or plaster. How did the impulse to add these layers come up?
S.L. : I owe this impetus to my architectural education in Belgium. My professors such as Carine Jacques or Olivier Bastin, have been so kind enough to comment me rather based on the route I covered than beyond the point I have already arrived. That is why there is no search for ”style” in my architectural or artistic production. I have not reached a point yet and I do not wish to. I associate my work more with the definition of “style” by Nicolas Bourriaud, namely to an understanding of “the work’s style is its route”… The coincidences of my route could be: the move of my studio to a neighborhood like Dolapdere that sells construction materials or my slipped disc problem leading the transformation of the painting process into a problem solving exercise having given up the “mastery of the hand”. It’s just an expression of the “merging with the wave.”
M.G. : As mentioned in the book ‘Istanbul: 2023’, published in 2016 which you have co-written with Yoann Morvan, the brutality of urbanization and the changing urban features affect our lives in an inevitable, dark and aggressive manner and push us to a deadlock. I know you refer to your academic work while constructing your series. At this point, the name of the series ‘Fluid Structures’ attracts my interest. What is fluid in these cities where you can not encounter any fluidity?
S.L. : I wrote a paper called ‘Fluid Structures’ in 2000. This text is an anarchist manifesto for me; what Henri Lefebvre defined as “isotopic”, namely ”heterotopias” in the face of the spaces constructed by the government, was a conception of an area where transient situations could exist while purifying of the static rules. Fluidity is an attitude towards the status quo. Walking the city, or experiencing it on a skateboard, is part of this search. In short, there are less and less situations that are fluid around us, but it is up to our actions to stretch them.
M.G. : You review at different scales of the plans, landscapes or architectural areas that you abstracted. I wonder how you made the choice of these areas.
S.L. : I have no specific method in this regard. But, my architectural work, the student’s research in the academic environment, my walks in the city and my readings necessarily constitute a route. These images and experiences correspond to very different scales, and can include spaces ranging from an architectural detail to the alleys of a slum. But a tension or feeling of the friction could always be their common. I hope to answer this question better in thirty years.
M.G. : In an interview, by asking the question “Is the painting stands in the white areas on the paper or in the inked areas?” you talk about your integration with architecture and city, closed forms and openness of the public space in your paintings. Could you mention a little bit about this original abstraction technique of yours?
S.L. : One of the distinguishing features of humanity from the animal kingdom is its ability to develop abstract concepts. This cognitive ability of our brains has provided the birth of complex tongues and science, together with rules that make possible the crazy project of living in the cities, or culturally shared behaviors. With the influence of the environment, our bodies and languages develop, which defines the mental state of individuals according to cognitive psychologists Jacques Mehler and Emmanuel Dupoux: “These mental states can be compared to a system of signs and symbols organized in the internal composition, just like the formulas of mathematicians or the expressions of natural languages. These elements specify a language of soul that defines the scope or limit of what we can think of by the human soul that consists of all our knowledge and the logical relations within it. ” In short, this search for abstraction is an expression of the negotiation inside of me between ” ape ” and ” man”.
M.G. : Can you share a news that you follow in the world of art in our country or in the world that you deem as controversial? I wonder your current sensitivities related to art and art politics.
S.L. : I see the publications in the art or architectural domain as devices that are often disconnected from the society and protection of self. So I follow less and less. In both domains, it is possible to define the rise to “star”dom of some personalities as an honest reflection of the society of spectacle that we are in. My readings generally include a broad panel of urban theories, covering general scientific areas. I render my relation to art by perceiving and interpreting the exhibitions that I visit with my personal observations. In any case, it is healthier for us to discuss the production forms we are in after a few decades. As for Turkey, to talk about the politics of art, it requires to descend to a conceptual level as simple as the living of a bear in the forest. But it is important to accept that there are a few heroes in that forest too.