Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul
Selim Turan (1915-1994), who spent more than half his life in France, sought metaphors and antitheses in his life, his works and his approach to the world. Just as it is impossible to examine the paintings and sculptures that he produced between 1938 and 1994 in a linear manner (such as his student years, period engaged in research, maturity etc), it is not easy to precisely frame his artistic position. What kind of artist was Selim, and why does no specific attitude and approach emerge when all his works are viewed side by side? More importantly, why is it impossible to reach a definitive conclusion about him?
When my observations in the course of this research were combined with the hundreds of works by Selim Turan that I saw later, I felt that instead of any concern with such questions, he had endeavoured to pass ‘beyond the visible’. I want to emphasise that by ‘going beyond the visible’ the artist, whatever his form of expression (figurative, realistic, abstract, symbolic), intended that his works should provoke questions in the mind of the viewer. As a creative artist who had determined to pass ‘beyond the visible, Selim Turan developed his works by burning his boats twice and disregarding any concerns about whether he was ‘understood’ or not, advanced along the path he himself had defined until the end of his life, without ever looking back.