Instinctively, the painter Mehmet Güleryüz spreads his insomnia on the canvas – Go out Grand Paris

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Famous in his country, the 80-year-old Turkish artist unveils in a Parisian exhibition his work made of expressionist sketches of daily life and more political paintings.

Mobile, warm, freshly cut white beard, Mehmet Güleryüz wants to make up time. On his life, his destiny and his painting, which haunts him. On this need which makes him take, every night, his knife, and torch, touching his fresh and nocturnal colors. If “poetry lives by perpetual insomnia” , according to the words of René Char, then Mehmet Güleryüz is indeed this poet of the apparitions. At 80 (he was born in 1938 in Istanbul), he paints “to the impulse” until dawn, without preparatory drawing, scenes that torpedo the eye by their juxtaposition and their insolent youth. Couples who devour each other ( In your eyes , 2017), embrace on a fluid sea of ​​watery green ( Yes, no doubt , 2018) or have fun replaying the fabulous destiny of Prospero and Miranda in the midst of a Shakespearean affective storm: a ogre holds a young woman in her lap, embraces and chooses her tenderly. What do these two say to each other? The painting purposely leaves a lingering doubt. “I paint instinctively, without stopping, and it comes like that,” responds the artist, delighted with the trouble facing evanescent questions. Insomnia incarnate? Evocation of affection and love of literature? All this, but especially the clues of a very romantic biography.

J’ai quelque chose à te dire, Mehmet Güleryüz, 2016Mehmet Güleryüz joined the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts, dropped out of school, joined a theater troupe, played in successful plays, took up painting again. “The theater made me go back to art. After a short abstract period, I realized that I wanted to express the human soul, the existences. I am resolutely expressionist. I’ve watched everything from Fayum’s painting to Max Beckmann’s, from the 18th century English painter William Hogarth, whom I adore, to the art of my contemporaries. A painter sees everything, you know! ” Come penniless journeys to New York or Brussels. Rude school. Each new painting, which will be piled up with many others in a corner of his Parisian apartment, reveals a revenge and a story between comedy and tragedy. Black side, the history of present-day Turkey, the victims of the war in Syria, which could be related to the militant art of the American painter Leon Golub. On the sunny side, a tenderness born of a childish figure, the joke of small intimate and domestic scenes.

In other words, the art that Mehmet Güleryüz is a revelation. And a paradox. In 2015, the retrospective of his works (paintings, sculptures and drawings) at the Museum of Modern Art in his city is a hit with more than 300,000 visitors. However, the artist remains unknown in France. The gallery Cyril Guernieri, who presents his paintings, renews the dialogue, from the Bosphorus to the Seine. As if Mehmet Güleryüz had found a nest in Paris …

Born in Istanbul.
1970 Receives a scholarship, which allows him to continue his studies at the Beaux-Arts in Paris.
1980 Settles and exhibits in New York.
1995 Visits Bosnia during the war, under the aegis of “Humanity for Bosnia”. Become an actor.
2015 Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul.