|Patterned Profiles: Narration of Human Juncture
Elçin Ünal, deserves remarkable compliments by putting her signature on a provocative work in perception platform with her fivefold dimensions, named: “Şablon Kimlikler” “Patterned Profiles”. This serial study prepared by the serigraphy technique is reflecting her real perception world to the audience by the colors and abstractions as it were an expression. The impulsive dimension of the painting becomes apparent right here. This perception world for the audiences is particularly underlying at audience’s real personality being transformed into a social manifestation related to their archaic and historical origin. “Patterned Profiles” is expressing the cultural warfare with natural predestination of human being, the dichotomy of nature-culture or continuity of Apollon–Dionysus struggle and currency (in Nietzsche terms) by the colors and metaphoric shape distortions. It is trying to open out the naked fact concealed by Apologia via intellect, figures, proportion, in other words via popular science and art especially by using one of the Apologia’s appliances –in general terms by using art- as well as breaking the ignorance shield veiled by Apollon.
There are pre-modern origins of today's post modern crisis which reaches to the ancient Egypt, Greece and moreover before; appraised as, the Apologia-Modern Culture and its “after” or in point of view its “continuation”, and the reasons of post modern individual’s identity crisis should just be examined throughout these origins. Today; impolitic, lonely individual failing to form his own sense world and having difficulty in identifying himself, becoming unfamiliar to oneself and the others is being sunk deeply into physical nihilism. Thus, the most crucial indicator is “Testere” “Saw” type films. In the 20th Century where the physical violence takes its place in our daily lives becoming ordinary, the 19th Century’s romantic-spiritual nihilists living at the extreme anxiety of meaningless, jumping into the spiritual cliffs, feeling this anxiety and trying to overcome it, are not the aforementioned ones. As of now; the subject to be discussed is the post modern individual who faces difficulties even in feeling the anxiety of meaninglessness and is unable to find the consolation despite the virtual environment’s unlimited options. In order to understand the pre-modern origins of this process, following up the intellectual efforts including; German Romanticism, Nietzsche, Frankfurt School’s famous work of art the “Dialektik der Aufklarung”, and “Sexual Personae” of Camille Paglia will be enough.
Without disregarding the danger of getting subjects closer, we can frankly tell that; these mentioned intellectual efforts are substantiating us that; nature-culture, determination-freedom, physical determination-spiritual freedom, male-female, me-the other fragmentations asseverated as either have been surpassed or insurmountable, lie at the root of the post modern cultural problems including the personality depression as well. In considering Nietzsche’s concepts; the decomposition between the Apologia world representing; the system, law, rule, male in general terms identified as “culture and light” versus Dionysus’s world representing; pleasure, passion, libido, sensation, female in general terms identified as “nature and dark” has been tried to be suppressed by science, art and philosophy and consequently paving way for the ‘natural’ being masked and surpassed by the ‘cultural’. This unbalanced condition against the ‘natural’, incrementally has given rise to alienation of human beings to oneself thus ending up with ego-centric, domineering behavior focused communal reality, instead of producing harmonic equality focused communal reality. Here it is Elçin ÜNAL with her deep artistic perception, representing this historical process as a narration by man-woman abstracts and reflecting the continuity of the process nearly mirror-like. The painting has been transformed into Dionysian protest against the Apologia Culture as a token of female created work of art.
The introductory part of the narration and the first piece of the fivefold is “Red” (Kırmızı). Work is designating an asexual genus in other words a human being who has been surrounded by natural and cultural determinations. “Blue” which composes the inner color, is referring to the sky, the space of Apologia Greek Gods, so that it is making an allusion to all extended themes of Apologia Culture and human being’s determinations pressurized by the culture. “Red” the exterior color giving its name to the painting as the main theme indicates the natural determination, natural destiny of the human being which is stronger than the cultural ones: Mortality. Death is giving voice to the power of nature versus culture or just the opposite; the weakness of culture against nature, in conformity with the invariable natural destiny of the existence from bloody birth to bloodless end. The painting is also referring to the force of nature, while actually representing the human tragedy being stranded between two determinations as well.
The name of the second piece is “Dreamers” (Hayalperestler). In this painting “Blue” is becoming more visible as the main color and all the dichotomies (primitive-civilized, west-east, white-black, I-other, etc.) produced by culture get summarized in women-man abstracts. The Blue and centered color yellow are representing the sky and the sun located in the centrum of earth. The sun is symbolizing the “Western Eye” or “Western Mind” and “Illumination”. And red, the main theme of the “Red” silently getting eliminated from the vision by becoming barely perceptible at this point; is indicating Apollon’s “veil of dark” and the shadow against nature in other words; domination of science on nature, and man on woman. In fact, the black color gushing from the brain of the women abstract and the surrounding color yellow are symbolizing the others who became invisible-unknown by the veil of dark of the Western Eye. The provocative side of the painting is lying underneath the name itself: “Dreamers”. This name is implying that; all the dichotomies produced by culture are illusions as well as the culture’s promises of happiness are delusions.
The third piece “Memories” (Hatıralar) refers to the cultural memory. It is indicating the nature in Venus abstraction which becomes domesticated, abased and softened by idealization during the historical period from the archaic to postmodern. Women illustrated in blue tone are referring to the women type idealized by culture. However green and red (by assembling the analogy between the darkness of green which refers to the intensive, dense, complex structure of the Amazons and the oval complicated build of vagina) which oval frame the Venus abstract in the center are referring/refer to the natural genius of women idealized by men as well as to the “vagina dentata” and “femme fatale” type of women hidden in the men’s subconscious fears. In both conditions; “Memories” refers to the distortions on cultural memories, transference of these distortions to historical memory and via culture, reproduction of others identified with nature. It is implying that; any history coming into existence by dissociation, fragmentation, contradiction and illusions is composed of blood and tears.
The fourth piece is named as: “Existence” (Var Olmak). The Painting is referring to the existence founded on distortion, fragmentation, suppression and lies. Humankind being the subject of this existence is distrustful to oneself and the others. Just as the Apologia-geometric cavities (square and circle) –like the disproportional, geometric figures randomly wounded on a body by saw- are used as metaphors of this distrustfulness and self suspicion. On the painting; reusing blue, yellow and red colors on the bodies (related to the Red and Dreamers) and structural distortion of the body formed by the 21st Century’s ironic, physical nihilism are referring to the archaic and historical origins of self suspicion.
And finally the fifth piece “Sedimentations” (Çökeltiler) is summarizing the end of the narration and today’s hopelessness, and helplessness circumstances faced because of the cultural dichotomies. In “Sedimentations”; all colors and accordingly all the themes of the first four paintings are getting reused.
Clay is fading in and what is left is the human being who has lost ones stiff posture and balance… As a matter of fact, repetition of all the colors and themes is identifying that; to be a human being does not mean “to be an ordinary mammiferous” as well, because the artist is realizing a self- reflection by telescoping all of the themes.
“Patterned Profiles” is summarizing the narration of humanity by the soul of abstracts and colors. It is inviting the audiences, men and women, to have self-reflection on human conditions by illustrating the human centered culture and fragmentation between the nature and human in perceptional perspective. Designating to the historical origins of otherization, and making us to remember the ones suppressed by the popular. By Benjamin’s idiom, “Combing the fuzz of the history, reversely”.
 For an analysis and evaluation based on the mythological and artistic expression of the mentioned origins; Camille Paglia, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Vintage Books, New York, 1991, especially parts II and III.
 For instance in “Illumination’s Dialectic” Horkheimer and Adorno stand that by becoming a counterforce through criticism, illumination and brain will be able to overcome these dichotomies and consequently the dominated relationships (See. Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic der Aufklarung: Philosophische Fragmente, Fisher Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2001 p.216 vd). In the Frankfurt School, some members’ project of interpreting the art in politics, and the politics in aesthetics is a subsidiary phenomenon of this main concept. On the other hand; Camille Paglia thinks that all the mentioned dichotomies and their related cultural hierarchies have ontological basements and that’s why they are unavoidable and insurmountable and in Nietzscheism point of view it is asseverated that; art makes the life tragedy more tolerable, bearable and livable (See. Camille Paglia p.3 and p.38-39).
 Nietzsche claims that this masking operation which is tragic, starts with Socrates’ optimism in believing to overcome our unavoidable addiction to nature by culture; and redounds along religious and scientific barbarity by the addiction of organizing and changing the ‘natural’ (See. Friedrich Nietzsche, Die Geburt der Tragödie, Werke in drei Banden, ed, Rolf Toman. Könemann Köln, v.1, p.95 vd. For a detailed analysis of Nietzsche’s configuration of the Diyonizyac concept See. Nevzat Kaya, Der Gott des Grotesken, Ege Universitesi Faculty of Art publications, ?zmir 2000. See. chapter 1.1.).
 Walter Benjamin. “Über den Begriff der Geschichte”, Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Schweppenhauser, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1974, chapter 1.1, p.697
I highly appreciate Prof. Dr. Nevzat Kaya who has contributed to this article with his valuable critiques and opinions.
“Artist Actual Magazine” February-March 2009 p.40-43.