Cengiz Çekil


Cengiz Çekil came into his own in the early 1970s in Paris in the heyday of early conceptualism in Europe. He was on a state scholarship as a young artist from Gazi Teacher Training Institute in Ankara. The context of Paris allowed Çekil to drive his practice towards a novel engagement with materiality, and load off the burden that suggested art had to engage with the world in circumscribed media. Having liberated his practice from prestigious materiality in the mid 1970s Çekil explored the conflict as well as the relationship between mechanical production, craft and makeshift inventions. Roaming the streets for low-intensity everyday objects and corner workshops, his approach became akin to a studio practice. Çekil worked with
a range of materials that were either in his immediate environment or potentially available to anyone. From textiles to newspapers to discarded objects, his choice of materials has always been decidedly conventional in terms of access and decidedly unprivileged. Çekil developed a specific language to articulate the vast social transformations experienced in Turkey in the late 1970s and registered, through simple means, political tensions that affected individuals before the coup d’état in 1980.

In 1978, Çekil moved from İstanbul to work at the newly founded Faculty of Fine Arts at Ege University in İzmir. The photographic series Görsel Parkurlar [Visual Tracks] (1979) documents the artist’s daily journey escorting the viewer through his everyday routes.