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Seen in a New Light

Setenay Alpsoy

31 May - 6 June 2023

With ‘Seen in a New Light’, Alpsoy not only showcases her practice extending through 20 years but also carries the face of the metropolis of Istanbul which changes daily, beyond its borders.

High, concrete block apartment buildings, built to meet the housing needs after the start of the intense migration to the city since the 1950s, are the focal point of the artist's canvases. Alpsoy captures a striking geometric rhythm with the facades that completely cover the canvas and the windows, blinds, and even the air conditioning boxes on it while telling the story of the irregular growth of the city. This irregular growth is amplified by details such as the optically deformed image of a new plaza reflected toward us from the window of an older building. The artist sometimes takes a look at this chaos from a distance and creates urban landscapes in which she paints irregular groups of buildings. Thus, the viewer can follow the narrative in both the individual facades and the groups of buildings formed by these facades coming together.

Setenay Alpsoy does not glorify this concrete pile, which grows bigger and bigger each day, in her urban narrative; she is inspired by its chaos, the population that grows with each passing day, and the speed and strength all of it creates. While capturing the strenuous moments of people forcing themselves to live in this unnatural environment, she explores the dilemmas between being a part of this massive living organism and remaining an individual inside this environment.

Alpsoy graduated from Neş'e Erdok Atelier at the Department of Painting at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in 2005. In 2009, she completed her master's degree at the Painting Department of the Institute of Social Sciences of the same university. In 2019, her works named "IETT Blocks I" and "IETT Blocks II" have been selected to be included in the permanent collection at the One Thousand Museum in Miami, one of the last projects completed by architect Zaha Hadid. Alpsoy's work titled "Gayrettepe Last Stop" was included in The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2020 exhibition held in the United Kingdom. The exhibition was shown in different cities of the country for 6 months, starting in London. The Artist was among the finalists of the Sustainable Arts Foundation in 2021. She has had six solo exhibitions at Evin Art Gallery, which she has been working with since 2008, and one solo exhibition at Yaşar Art Gallery in Izmir. Alpsoy participated in many group exhibitions and fairs in the country throughout her art career, and in 2022 she participated in the "In a Multiple-Perspective" group exhibition in YARAT Contemporary Art Space in Baku, curated by Fırat Arapoğlu. Alpsoy, whose works are included in many institutional and private collections, continues her practice in her workshop in Istanbul.

"My art does not glorify the raising of the concrete jungle, yet it benefits from its chaos, overpopulation, pace and power. I try to capture the sparking moments when I feel the weirdness of people forcing themselves to live in this unnatural environment. The dilemma of trying to stay individual, at the same time being a part of a larger organism. I grew up in one of the world's most populated cities, Istanbul. With its 20 million inhabitants, this mega city kept feeding my art since the days in the academy. My paintings do not include figures because I don’t want to restrict my art representing an individual’s physical appearance or expressions. Instead I depict many individual’s lives through architecture, structure, transformation and reflection. I am very happy that in the last 3 years I had chances to represent my art in international locations. For the first time, I am on the verge of opening a solo exhibition abroad. And it’s in the beautiful city of London, another multicultural mega city."

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