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The idea of shared dreaming

We talked with Mehmet Resul Kaçar about the conceptual framework of his works and his creation process, through his solo exhibition The Dream is Over, Red Jacket, which is being shown at Gallery 77

Interview: Cem Bölüktaş

Mehmet Resul Kaçar

Where does the name The Dream is Over, Red Jacket for your exhibition come from?

The red jacket was a feature in my first exhibition. One day, while wandering in Demo (Ortaağaç) village, I saw a red jacket that my grandmother had tied to a fig tree to prevent birds from damaging the fruits. I estimate the jacket had been there for 8-10 years. Despite the passage of time, it hadn’t torn or rotted; only its color had faded. I soon began to envision myself with this jacket in my paintings. This red jacket also clung to other characters in my paintings and even in my video works. After my family moved to the city, our village house and garden remained vacant. Due to some personal reasons which prevent me from returning to the village and feeling its atmosphere, I decided to name the exhibition The Dream is Over, Red Jacket.

Let us talk about the layout of your exhibition. How did you structure it? While your first exhibition mainly featured landscape paintings, this one seems to have an equal blend of storytelling and landscape.

The paintings at the entrance remind one of the landscape paintings that stood out in my first solo exhibition and others I participated in with Galeri 77. In the second room, the paintings mostly focus on interior spaces and my inner world. The first exhibition primarily featured themes of violence against animals and stillness. In this exhibition, interior paintings can be said to have been added to landscape ones. However, I do not separate my paintings into categories like “storytelling”, “landscape” and so on. I consider them all holistically. After all, nearly all the paintings revolve around the vicinity of Demo (Ortaağaç) village, its stories, the people living there, and the emotions they invoke.

Mehmet Resul Kaçar, No One Knows About Hakkı 1-2-3, 190x450 cm, oil painting on canvas, 2022

The major piece in the first room is a triptych titled No One Knows About Hakkı (2022). Can you share the story behind this painting?

It is a fusion of three different stories, in essence. Each tells a different tale, but they can also be viewed collectively. In the painting on the left, we see Hakkı as an observer, looking at Demo from a distance. The middle painting was inspired by a village story: it depicts a villager returning home through the plains, pursued by wolves. Below, one of the village dogs, Komo, is seen lunging to save the young man from the wolves. This unforgettable story always thrilled us when narrated during our childhood; we viewed Komo as a superhero, much like in movies. The painting on the right narrates an incident of a hunter, freshly returned from the military, shooting and killing an otter he spots in a stream. This event truly happened, with the hunter skinning the otter to sell its fur. It is a rather mundane story for the village, but for those of us who heard it as children, it is profoundly traumatic.

Mehmet Resul Kaçar, Storm, 90x110 cm, oil painting on canvas, 2023

We are aware of the unique technique you employ. Moreover, in your new productions, we notice some refined differences. Can you elaborate?

Certainly. Given that I work in series, I can say that I am continually experimenting in my production processes. In some of my 2023 paintings, besides the “dotting” technique I previously employed (comprising brush strokes), I have used a method akin to “sweeping” to introduce dynamism to the composition. This technique, which imparts a rippling or shading effect, can be observed in paintings like Çata (2023) and Storm (Fırtına, 2023), especially in the undulations of mountains or details in the sky.

Moving on to your paintings set in interiors, which mainly convey your inner reflections, we see a technique you have not used before.

Indeed, these interior paintings typically take place in village houses. Village house walls are plastered with mud, giving them a bumpy or rough texture. Thus, I sought to capture a similar texture, particularly in the backgrounds of these paintings. As mentioned, these experiments are a part of my ongoing production process.

Mehmet Resul Kaçar, Of Mice and Men I, 150x190 cm, oil painting on canvas, 2022

Works such as Disconnected (Tutunamayanlar, 2022), Of Mice and Men I (Fareler ve İnsanlar I, 2022), and Of Mice and Men II (Fareler ve İnsanlar II, 2023) seem to reference certain literary works.

I am not sure if “reference” is the right term. Oğuz Atay and John Steinbeck are beloved authors of mine, but my intention was not directly to reference their works. Instead, I pondered the emotions their books stirred within me. For instance, the characters in Disconnected (Tutnamayanlar) are largely individuals unsettled with the flow of life, which may remind one of the book’s theme. Of Mice and Men I (Fareler ve İnsanlar I, 2022), and Of Mice and Men II (Fareler ve İnsanlar II, 2023) touch on a similar sentiment. Essentially, I am not alluding to the book itself, but more to the idea of shared dreaming presented within. These paintings reflect dreams I constructed with my mother. If we are to speak of references, the pose I chose for my mother in Of Mice and Men I (Fareler ve İnsanlar I, 2022) might be interesting. I had James McNeil Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, also known as Whistler’s Mother (1871), in mind when I crafted this piece.

Mehmet Resul Kaçar, Me and Eagle, 100x135 cm, oil painting on canvas, 2022

The exhibition’s title is associated with your self-portrait, Me and Eagle (Ben ve Kartal, 2022), which features an introspective narrative. Furthermore, we see patterns resembling your mother’s cross-stitch works, which have been subjects of your previous paintings. What does this painting share with us?

In this piece, you will see me wearing the red jacket alongside a pigeon named Eagle perched on my shoulder. In the background is a cross-stitch piece crafted by my mother, a fabric commonly used to conceal clothing hung on walls in village homes. The pattern on it was once highly fashionable in village homes. So much so that village women began reproducing this design extensively. The same pattern even appears in Yılmaz Güney’s film Road (Yol, 1982). My mother’s tale of crafting this stitch is intriguing. This patterned fabric was lent to my grandfather just for an evening, and my mother managed to weave it in just one night under the glow of a gas lamp. Returning to the painting, while an interior setting is evident, the surroundings are swarmed by pigeons. Given the surreal elements used to narrate the theme, it could be said that I am depicting the dreaming version of me, the version unable to realize those dreams, and the version filled with disappointments due to familial reasons.

Lastly, your exhibition features a surprise video piece titled Kund (Owl, 2014). Can we discuss this work and its connection to your paintings?

This piece surrealistically depicts the psychological impacts of an absurd system reliant on juries, exams, and interviews. Although it deviates from the themes in my paintings, we encounter three characters from Disconnected (Tutunamayanlar) as well as the red jacket. We can describe it as a sort of experiment where dreams, realities, and nightmares intertwine.

views from The Dream is Over, Red Jacket exhibition


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