The Singer

Ali Zülfikar was born in 1971 in Milelis in Turkey and studied art at Firat University under Professor Memduh Kuzay. His success began early, with his work already curated since 1993 at meanwhile over 170 international exhibitions and museums. We are delighted to display Ali Zülfikar’s masterly portrait drawings on canvas and handmade paper, drawings that he never reworks, this being a distinguishing feature of his approach. It is the highest goal of a portraitist to understand and make visible the soul and life of a person, and this is something that Zülfikar achieves in a unique way: It is above all the pictures of old people that unfurl in his hands an emotional intensity that comprehends the wisdom and dignity of lived experience and bring to the topic of old age a novel and positive serenity. As a master of his craft, he develops in his drawings detailed structures that, seen from a distance, create a strong presence, while viewed close-up there is a tension between the spatial depth and proportions which generates the effect of relief by using layers and ruptures in the flow of the lines. Most of those portrayed arouse the sympathy of the observer. Either it is the wakeful eyes that attract or else a tension in the features that signals living energy. In the case of “Oo No!” both apply. The faces of the women have often something warming, motherly, patient, although it is difficult to say what it is exactly that elicits this perception. But one finds oneself stopping to admire, too, “Genuß/Pleasure”, which is the portrait of an engaging, smiling woman with surprisingly soft features. The outstanding feature of Picasso’s wonderful head is clearly the striking physiognomy in which his determination is reflected. A vigorous curiosity speaks from his large eyes. Less trust-inspiring contemporaries, too, provoke fascination such as “Curse of the Caribbean”. Seen in profile, the old unshaven man has his mouth open. Must one fear him, or is this an unkempt person who deserves compassion? It is Ali Zülfikar’s achievement that his pictures provoke such questions. His portraits pull the observer into the stories that they tell – through their eyes, their facial expressions, their tense features. He is without doubt a great draughtsman whose understanding for the unmistakeable lifelines of people is undeniable. Ali Zülfikar brings his oversized portraits up close to the observer and shows them in an unusually intense light: each furrow or scar, each ever so fine hair, is captured in the drawings. By presenting his portraits in oversize dimensions, and also strongly modulated, he creates a monument of human feeling and a lived life. Dr. Stephanie Eckhardt | Cologne, 06/06/2016 Tranlation: Paul Gregory
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