The continuous flow of our lives in our minds makes the comprehension of present time impossible. That's why our thoughts and dreams are concentric. Reality that art is based on is just like the wind. To be able to catch this movement, the continuous transformation in my drawings, I do not fix my figure in yesterday, today or tomorrow, but in complete timelessness.
Whenever I feel that I perceive I rush myself into that non-dimensional and timeless hell where plastic transformations comes true. I re-create reality as a main way and then I melt it away. When the efforts of deformation come to the end of their adventure and become unbearable, ascension replaces the way, the original reality of existence. From then on I bring my work to its initial state. In this period reality is transformed into a new dimension. After living a hellish adventure, carrying the dirt and reidue of time, it then becomes an ecstasy that has the characteristics of birth, growth and exhaustion simultaneously.
When I talk about a changing point of time I mean that I always have an aim; that my art cannot be consumed by repetitive observation. I want every spot that becomes an image in my painting to be able to invite free associations or ideas just like a tuning fork. Relating to this, I believe painting is a kind of energy: an energy that marks the truth about everything reflected in my paintings judges as forgettable and unforgettable at the same time. Looking from another point of view, my art should be an imaginary world that will connect the lifestyle and outery of the anguished Mediterranean people, who were not able to possess the qualities and identity of a contemporary society.
As a result, if the plastic I am trying to analyze, in surface and volume, transforms into a work of art, it should be open to free associations and re-creation. When I re-view my completed painting, I see a kind of conspiracy against the soul. I never find it difficult to find a theme for my painting, because deep inside ourselves there are always many sleeping beauties we aren't aware of, waiting for a touch, a sound, a word to wake up.
Strokes of instinct
By Jane Walker
�I WANT to give something back to Larnaca.� Turkish Cypriot artist Asik Mene was determined to hold his first personal exhibition in the south in Larnaca because it is his birthplace.
�Although I was born here,� he says, �as things are, I cannot choose to die here � and that is the tragedy of so many Cypriots today.�
We went to look for his earliest visual experiences in the old town along the sea front, as he remembered a rather wild and free time when the children belonged to everyone and yet nobody�s parents ever knew where they were.
�I want to pay Larnaca back,� he said.
Larnaca has changed so much that after 30 years� separation in the north that Asik Mene can hardly recognise it. Inevitably Mene has changed too, as he is nearly 50 now and an international painter at the height of his powers and with many personal exhibitions behind him � including years of annual exhibitions in Istanbul.
If you walk into the Heliotropio Gallery, where the paintings are already hanging, the first word that comes to mind is �versatile�.
If you are not familiar with his paintings you may wonder how all these works � large, small, figurative and abstract � could have been created by the same artist. The answer lies in his tendency to invent a new universe for every picture or series.
There are some very large formats � some preoccupied with horizons and colour-perspective � others primarily figurative compositions about human relationships and, again, others purely abstracting from colours and forms arising from the figure. There are four medium-sized, square, abstract compositions in alternately bold and pastel colours. And there are a number of recent, smaller, rather sensual canvasses which subdivide into modular mini-series � you could group them into threes, sixes or nines and see them as redolent of pears, bottoms or just pure painterly dreams. There is a lot of variously textured white glaze � satiny, bubbly, snowy. Much of it is very erotic in mood but at the same time very subtle.
Mene is really not interested in giving titles to his paintings. You put a label on something and this means you can stop thinking � �who will bother to look beyond the title?� The interpretation process could be endless.
This is exactly right, because as well as versatility, Asik Mene�s painting has ambiguity. If you work out everything that is going on in them he will probably feel he has failed. There are secrets overlaid with secrets overlaid with secrets. One of the small square canvasses is obviously a still life� until you realise it is a landscape. And then you begin to see that it is a composition of figures. It is witty, elegant and decodes itself over time. Another one is a small steamy red painting so hot you could warm your hands by it � in the bottom of the frame a standing couple, intimate and hinted with pencil strokes. Paintings to live with.
Never think that you have got to the bottom of them � probably even he never could. Asik Mene is an artist with an original spirit who seems to paint from his subconscious and really doesn�t like trying to describe in words something essentially visual. These canvasses reveal themselves purely in terms of paint and that is their strength.
Asik Mene: Recent Paintings. Heliotropio Gallery, 13, Grivas Digenis Ave., Larnaca. Opening today, 8pm. Until March 1. opening hours, 10.30am-1pm and 4.30...