2012 ŞEBNEM SOMEL / Seçil Erel’s Exhibition in Alan Istanbul
  The Initial Home - Leia Exhibition Catalog, February 2012


In her installations “İlk Ev” (the initial home) and “Leia” which will be exhibited in Alan İstanbul, Seçil Erel takes apart the subjective experience that interferes and guides the canvas from within, back and beyond and she separates the layers of perception and of life which get in, over and behind our view and she reshapes them in time and space. Whilst accenting our personal choices of existence via art terms, she reconsiders the light, the translucent that form the opaque, the non-horizontal course of rows which were shaped in horizontals and which connect to one another side by side, aligning in the front and at the back and she rearranges them in the gallery space in two related yet different ways.

“İlk Ev” is a canvas-space artwork that provides an experience of space that orients the now to be an up and forth look towards and in the space; the space that it was born in and to which it gives birth. “Leia”, on the other hand, is a canvas-object arrangement that emits the light that makes us visible to our own selves, as in the direction pointed out by “İlk Ev”, the light that we deserve to wait for and which we perceive the moment we are born.

In the first one, we see an installation on the wall of life with its diverting surfaces which invites the viewer to thousands of other possibilities he did not experience, he couldn’t participate in although he is right beside them, and which adjoins the stripes delivered through the artist’s personal experience and art, one by one, building up on and to the side of each other, becoming more opaque as they build up.  As we look up and forward on to the horizontal stripes with expectations and curiosity, the artist suggests us the rich vibrations of the new life that we are going to code. She renders the vibrations luminous, colorful, diverse, engaging and objective.

With each step we take in order to see and in the details we can partly see from up close, the artwork we come to see objectifies our very own perception of time and space and the shape to be seen creates meant to be seen, abstract titles which are hard to explain formally: observation, expectation, hope and as such. And the ear of an unborn baby in the womb of her mother is right by our side listening to life.

Besides the pure embracing quality of modern space which could be acknowledged universally or as well as the perceptual success of the representative painting which catches the eye of the viewer, it has always been the viewer’s own reality, breath and existence which is primarily prominent and more clearly out there in the works that expand to time and space. However, besides this quality that highlights the process, just as in this work, to keep the system in which the canvas is modified and expanded to the space still attached to its foundation, that is to say, this time, to let it only expand to its surroundings and cover the wall it’s exhibited on, letting it run on the ceiling, and also making the viewer observe his sphere up and down physically just the way the artist intended us to do, and making the viewer conquer his surroundings that he observes from within, causes a strong  life-art experience because it is clear, consistent in its objective, open,  it finds an association in life, it questions a way of existence in art terms.

With the new good news of birth in her life, before her cute, beautiful baby Leia came and in the recent busy days, the artist got the chance to have a fresh look at her own presence, at the beloved one in her and at life that beloved one goggled at in astonishment. Together with her baby who virtually started her art career before she was born, just because her mother could not stop painting, she expected a new light that she foresees and that her baby has been waiting for. As we can see in her work Leia, while waiting for this light, she continued to produce at full speed the possibilities of existence, which would reflect through this light.

In her installation Leia, Seçil Erel primarily presents us the powerful light windows opening to a space of equidistant value and the paintings that hold on to their very own light along with their rectangular form. The scheme of visual stripes, on the area what we call the painting, are again the phases of successive, juxtaposed versions of the lively, emotional dissimilarities that we saw in her previous work. And by being reduced to the stripe format and by the rectangular they hold on to on the left, on the right, on the boundaries and this time carried within, these intuitive formations, in their rich, serene variety as before, display competency standing side by side with the one which is distinctive, fixed and architectural.

Yet, this time, unlike before, another differentiating quality is the variation of precedence that light adds on to the natural habitat of the stripes. When I say natural habitat what I want to emphasize is that whilst they carry the abstract terms they also carry the interval differences in their dynamics just as if they were depicted through a representational genre and also that they are obtained through an approach which is at peace with its own inborn nature. As for the priorities that I believe that have changed, they are realized through one of the most important titles, which is about this capacity to transfer these nature alike minor distinctions. We notice how the glazed layers come forward when they are exposed to light from their behind; the once opaque glazed layers which displayed their transparent characteristics when they were illuminated and which made it clear that they were there to supplement the layer below, they were there to make that layer look more realistic. Just as the layers’ delicacy that covers the one below, carries the brush, the gesture of the brush holder because of the transparent quality of the paint, light also emphasizes the subjective differences of these gestured glazed sections.

Those who follow Seçil Erel, know that the emotional expression of her art is hidden in minor diagonals and interval tones placed in and between vertical and horizontal directions.  However, as we can see in her work “Body” of 2008, she examined enthusiastic, diagonal and emotional expression several times both in real and abstract space.

In her recent work Seçil Erel eliminated the solidity of the abstract planes, which she had questioned the logical scheme of, through the organic vibrations she applied on them and on the stripes placed in between. In her exhibition in Alan İstanbul she carries the architectural associations to the inner, real dimension of the architecture, she sets the rationally formed canvas shape edgeless via light and ambiance. To her ongoing questioning of time, she adds personal choices such as quest, anticipation, hope which maybe invented to comprehend time. She emphasizes the former organic vibrations and thus she surrenders them to time, space, and light and through them to the personal choices of existence.