Yes, he died with his prey, 300 x 250 cm, 2011.

Yes, he died with his prey, 300 x 250 cm, 2011.


Erdoğan Zümrütoğlu, a name in Turkish painting that evokes descriptions such as ‘unorthodox’ and ‘eccentric’, following his Berlin exhibition “The Grammar of the Other” (Die Grammatik des Anderen/29 October-29 November 2011) at Galerie Tammen & Partner and  his participation in VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary (20 – 23 September 2012), will meet with viewers in Istanbul. Zumrutoglu’s works will appear first at the Contemporary Istanbul Fair (22-25 November 2102 in The Empire Project space). This will be followed by a personal exhibition, “Cosmetic Violence”, at The Empire Project gallery from 6 December 2012 until 12 January 2013.

The most important sources of Erdoğan Zümrütoğlu’s reputation for unorthodoxy and eccentricity is the power and force that emerges in his paintings.  These are forces that find expression both in the plasticity of his painting language and in the way in which the potential energies of our surroundings enter this plasticity as he attempts to grasp/perceive the world through his painting. “We ‘perceive’ the forces through our senses, violently and suddenly. Erdoğan Zümrütoğlu is doing something new in Turkish painting: he is pondering the dimensions, violence and movement/action/motion/gestures of force/power. And while he ponders in paint, we perceive the painting through our senses.” Is it not the function of painting to make (the) invisible forces visible?

This force sometimes emerges as vital energy, sometimes as violence. We are living in a time in which violence has become embedded in the mundaneness of our daily lives and has consequently become invisible. In fact, the violence that occurs on our doorsteps is subjected to an aestheticizing process in which mechanisms of imagery, design, refinement and gratification used by the media as cosmetic intervention, and is then presented to us for our approval. We become inured to it, and having been cleansed of ethics, even become accomplices in cosmetic violence.

The tension of these energies which are rendered visible in Z’s paintings is precisely the tension that exists between violence, ethics and the cosmetic. Violence is not the topic of these paintings; it is its language of expression. And what this language does in depicting force is no more or less than strip violence of its cosmetic embellishment and provide the opportunity for a confrontation between criminality and ethics.

Erdoğan Zümrütoğlu


07 Dec - 12 Jan 2013