Yüksel Arslan
Antrepo No.3

Born in 1933, İstanbul. Lives in Paris.

In his works from the mid-1950s, Yüksel Arslan uses materials such as grass, tile, stone, coal, soap, flowers, petrol, honey, egg white, urine, blood and oil on paper. They draw on various fields of enquiry including literature, history, philosophy and science for their highly individualistic references and subject matter and were so radically different from the works of his domestic and international contemporaries that he felt he could not call them paintings. Instead Arslan combined the words 'art' and 'peinture', to create the term 'arture'. Connections with Surrealism in the West and miniature painting in the East are often cited, but his unique works remain impossible to classify and it is perhaps best to think of them as depictions of thought. Through the ways in which it connects political commitment with artistic virtuosity and precision of expression, Arslan's practice defies both the dichotomy of autonomy versus political engagement as well as the perceived break between modernism and contemporary art.
Paintings such as Worker Integrated to Capital, Colonialism and Classes, as well as the drawings from the notebooks, all belong to the 1973-1974 series Capital, based on Marx's work of the same title. The metaphors used, such as the huge hand of capitalism overshadowing a town, illustrate the main theses of the book, with strong reference to the political situation in Turkey in the 1970s.