The Power of Form is the first of three exhibitions at Plato Sanat, which investigate the latest tendencies of contemporary Turkish artists working in the fields of abstract art, figurative art, and research based art. The series understands itself as an introductory analysis of the state of our art scene, and it aims at propelling critical discussions in these important realms of today’s art.
The Power of Form brings together nine artists from different disciplines like painting, printing, sculpture, photography and video in order to exemplify current strategies of abstractionism and formalism. Being a major goal of the Modern Avantgardes of the 20th century, abstract and formalist art became the universal language of western modernism. After Kandinsky fulfilled the creation of the non-representative image, art critic Clement Greenberg established formalism as the final realisation of art’s philosophy of the absolute sublime in l’art pour l’art. Artist then gave up the struggle to communicate, illustrate or demonstrate concrete issues of the world, and art, withdrew from reality and its matters of everyday-life by becoming self-referential, autarkic and intrinsic. After the Second World War, due to Abstract Expressionism’s impact in the Western art world, it became the visual language of the modern, free, and democratic individual. So, for a large amount of the 20th century, the art world was mainly characterized by formalist discussions regarding organic or geometric compositions, as well as spontaneously improvised or conceptually reflected strategies of abstract art.
Since the 1980’s though, a resurrection of neo-expressionist figurative painting as well as various forms of realism occurred, and started dominating the art scene. In other disciplines like photography and video, a revival of narration is noticeable, as documentary-like, as well as socio-politically engaged or research based art became common. In the end, since the 1990’s, digital media and technologies strengthened the illusionistic reproduction of reality, and a new hyperrealism occurred. So today, creating in abstract and formalist ways became the issue of a minority of artists. Though, this is not something to complain about, or to mourn for, because it gives them the chance to work without the pressure and the expectations of fashionable trends, because outside of the mainstream gives the artist the freedom to really focus on what s/he wants to do.
The Power of Form reviews current aesthetic strategies, technical methods and conceptual approaches in the field of abstract and formalist art. The show proves that this domain of artistic production has still great power, and the exhibited artists make it very clear that the art of non-representation is of importance as it critically questions the being of art itself by dealing with the syntax of our perception. In this sense, its reflectiveness regarding disciplines, forms, and techniques points to sensitiveness towards reality itself. That is why The Power of Form means a forum for the senses, an artistic school for the seeing (Sehschule), which goes beyond the obviously known and perceivable in order to open up new insights in the arts as well as in the world.