Istanbul

Mehmet Sinan Kuran, Le pain quotidien (Daily Bread), 2020, ink on found photograph, 14 3/8 × 10 3/8".

Mehmet Sinan Kuran, Le pain quotidien (Daily Bread), 2020, ink on found photograph, 14 3/8 × 10 3/8".

Mehmet Sinan Kuran

Anna Laudel

Mehmet Sinan Kuran received no formal art education. He worked as a bootlegger in the 1980s, when he was in his twenties, and, identifying with Charles Bukowski, filled notebooks with grim sketches of the denizens of Istanbul’s bohemian quarters. “Painting is a mode of writing for me,” he said in 2013. That year at Istanbul’s Çağla Cabaoğlu Gallery, for his first solo show, Kuran displayed notebooks that abounded with miniature pen-and-ink drawings in the style of Edward Gorey. They featured disembodied limbs and Surrealist props—wandering eyes, animals in colorful costumes—as well as quotations from novelists and philosophers. A subsequent work, the ink drawing Gezi, 2014, reflects the schizophrenic energy of the previous year’s uprising at Istanbul’s Gezi Park. The decentralized figures in the chaotic composition—consisting of bricks, heads, towers, and trees cohabiting a common space

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