OMM Studio VII: Q&A With Metin Kalkızoğlu

A moment of stillness with Metin Kalkızoğlu.

Eskişehir-born artist Metin Kalkızoğlu’s eerily comforting hyperrealistic works draw inspiration from his childhood interest in movie posters. His practice is a minimalistic study of solitude inherent in the existence of all life. In this week’s OMM Studio, we glean a more detailed understanding of Metin Kalkızoğlu’s creative process.

Can you tell us a bit about your practice? What were the biggest influences as you developed your style?

I usually have a certain angle, perspective, or position in mind before I begin making work. That idea guides me through the initial photoshoots, but it often goes through stages of transformation. The dimensions and arrangement of the image are also subject to change as I render it on canvas. So my initial plans often end up being quite different from what the finished canvas ends up being.

For a long time, I’ve been focusing on creating a specific atmosphere in my work. I prefer depicting calm, isolated environments in which human or animal figures remain as still and quiet as possible. The inclusion of too much action or imagery in the work bothers me, so I lean towards more minimalist productions. To maintain this simplicity, I use monochromatic palettes rather than a variety of different colors.

Did you have an upcoming exhibition or project that was cancelled due to COVID-19 and subsequent global crisis? Will your works be shown in the near future?

Step Istanbul was scheduled for April and is postponed now. A few of my works will be shown there if it occurs. I have a personal show in Istanbul in November 2020, but it may be delayed as well. We can’t be completely certain of anything at the moment.

What do you foresee for the post-pandemic art world? How has this period affected your practice?

Some people hold the opinion that the digitalization we’ve experienced during the pandemic will remain prevalent after it, and that galleries will become irrelevant. I partially agree, but the pandemic is hardly the only reason for this digitalization. The art industry, like all others, was digitizing even before the quarantine period. The pandemic just increased the speed of this ongoing process. I also don’t believe that our daily lives will be fundamentally changed after the pandemic is over.

I can’t say that this process has been particularly bad for me personally, in terms of my production and productivity. My practice was never specifically attached to the outside world. My routine usually consists of long hours in the studio, watching things and working. So I continue to work in my studio as always. Of course the possibility of uniting one’s work with an audience through art events, exhibits, and openings, is a significant motivating factor for an artist. And we are left without it in this situation. Another downside is the uncertainty regarding how long the pandemic will last. If it goes on for a while and gatherings are canceled for years, I, like many other people, will be quite negatively affected.

What are you currently focusing on in your work?

Without any conscious plan on my part, my recent works have been dominated by winter landscapes. The quarantine period hasn’t affected my work yet, because the things I’m working on at the moment have been planned for a long time. It will take me some time to catch up to my plans. I don’t know how exactly this period will be reflected in my paintings.

Have there been any artists or exhibits you’ve been especially moved by since the beginning of isolation?

It’s not specific to this period, but I’ve recently read Manu Larcenets’s comic books and really enjoyed them. I’ve also been gazing at Paco Pomet’s works.

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