top of page


Today’s Zaman / Sercan Apaydın

Artist Sercan Apaydın examines empty spaces in urban city

Urban Planning and architecture are directly linked with the governing ideologies of their execution time and a new exhibition by artist Sercan Apaydın questions how changing ideologies are shaping urban cities in these contemporary times.

The title of the show, “Deep Emptiness,” refers to the emotional and physical congestion individuals experience in the urban environment, explains the artist in an interview with Today's Zaman. “The exhibition questions architecture through a painter's perspective. I'm making landscape paintings and, since I live in a city, they are generally depicting cityscapes, architectural zones,” he says, adding that his aim is to examine how we feel the changing ideology through the environment around us.

Apaydın's canvases include paintings of several public and private buildings such as stadiums, cultural centers and government buildings. “Public places that we used to visit easily are nowadays turned into places where we have to show identity cards while entering, such as football stadiums. This bothers me. I wanted to criticize this by using synthetic grass on the canvas,” he says, pointing out one of his paintings depicting İnönü Beşiktaş Stadium. He also uses paper, plastic straws and chipboards in his artworks to underline the theme in the painting.

One of his works, depicting a small football field on which amateur teams practice in İstanbul's Sanayi neighborhood, is perhaps the best statement of the main idea of this show. “This is the only empty green field in this area but it is not enough to satisfy our need of empty space. It is stuck between apartment buildings. I did this painting to question what this small green area represents,” Apaydın explains.

Another painting features a skyscraper located not far away from the same neighborhood. “Every day I walk between Sanayi and Levent. One used to be a shanty town from the 1970s and then turned into a residential area [through mismanaged urbanization] while the other is home to tall plazas of financial centers. I call these places massless blocks. Normally you cannot have such a thing but we cannot really understand whether they are real or not; there is a mass but we cannot feel it. The more I walked on this route, the more it felt like these skyscrapers were just some digital images for the people who pass by and who would not be allowed inside. If we remove this building from the sky, it feels like we will have an emptiness, just like we feel when we cut a part of an image on a graphic design program,” he elaborates, regarding the parts on his paintings where he left intentional blank areas.

One of the highlights of the show is a video-work which is shot at a construction site of one of these skyscrapers through a camera located on the safety helmet of a construction worker. Due to the nature of their work, it gets hard to look at the parts of the video, although the action is part of a daily routine for the workers. On the one hand the viewer is able to see the execution phase of such a construction, and on the other the video lets the spectator observe the stark difference between Levent and Sanayi from the top of the building. The video presents a good context for viewers to make sense of the rest of the works in the exhibition.

“Deep Emptiness” will run through Nov. 5 at Versus Art Project in İstanbul's Beyoğlu district. On the sidelines of the show, on Oct. 27, artist Burhan Kum and director İmre Azam will speak in a panel titled “City and Art.”

bottom of page