Taner Ceylan: 1997-2009
One of Turkey's most prominent artists, Taner Ceylan makes hyperrealist paintings that bespeak absolute technical mastery and precision, but which are also freighted with an emotional and sexual dimension usually absent from the genre--qualities that have set him apart from the prevailing tendencies in contemporary Turkish art, and which at times have also brought him outright abuse in the press. Ceylan's paintings occupy a register somewhere between the mutely homoerotic (as in his portrait of a bloodied and perspiring boxer--possibly an allegory of the artist's own trials) and the overtly sexual (to enter his website “you must be at least 18 years of age” ). Curator Dan Cameron, who has championed the painter, orients him in a tradition of sexually explicit art stemming from Robert Mapplethorpe to Jeff Koons, but points out that the implicit argument of Celyan's work is “a romantic arguing for the wholesomeness of gay male sexuality.”
"Ömer and Ali features two nude men caressing against an impossibly futuristic railing which separates their spacious balcony form the beach below. Everything in this picture confirms that it is as artificial as an animation, but no more so than countless ads featuring an equally aroused man, woman, or male-female couple."
-Dan Cameron, excerpted from We Don't Know Who We Are in Taner Ceylan: 1997-2009.