Ímer KALESI : le plus Turc des peintres des Balkans...
Istanbul - Turkish Daily News
Born in Manastir, Yugoslavia in 1932, Omer Kalesi emigrated to Turkey with his family when he was 24, getting an art diploma at the Istanbul State Fine Arts Academy.
Afterwards, Kalesi moved to Paris, where he has lived for over three decades.
His latest paintings depict his impressions of the period of the Second World War, which he witnessed as a young boy and an adolescent. While a student at the Bedri Rahmi atelier at the Fine Arts Academy, he discovered the "280 hues of red" as he sought to convey the atmosphere of war in the most realistic manner.
Today, as we are witnessing another war tearing apart Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, his paintings acquire an ominous pertinence.
Events in the Balkan peninsula have inspired Kalesi's painting since 1967. His work was included in a book called "The Balkan Drama," to which French historian and philosopher Jacques Lacarrere wrote the forward.
An exhibition is currently showing Kalesi's Balkan paintings at the Theatre des Amendiers in Nanterre.
Kalesi's last paintings reflect the influence of Spanish painter Goya. In particular, a row of heads sitting on a Balkan hilltop are reminiscent of a painting of Goya, depicting a similar scene around a dome, hung in St. Antonio Church in Spain.
For the most part, Kalesi paints human beings and their heads. In his work up to 1973, the heads would appear in black and red, sometimes hanging in the void. Then one day, a friend warned him that his heads could be perceived as being decapitated, upon which Kalesi started to "dress" his figures with traditional Turkish clothes, such as the shepherd's felt cloak or the dervish's dress.
According to Kalesi, the head is the most important part of the human organism, and the face, the bearer of meaning. While Kalesi's figures are thoughtful and sometimes sad, they never weep.
Kalesi adds that some heads "resist," in which case they turn up in his painting as still lives or his pedlar boys selling apples.
After Kalesi's long struggle with painting -- and the world -- today his work has come to express man's essential loneliness, the cruelty of life and the need to struggle. He conveys this message through abstract painting rather than traditional forms.
His paintings can be seen until March 26 at the TEM Art Gallery on Kuyulubostan Sokak No:44/2, Nimet Apt., Nisantasi.
Retour: "Les Turcs connus en France"