Nilüfer Yıldırım, who has been closely followed by art lovers and collectors in recent years, will exhibit the mutually complementary “Night for Day” and “We Should Meet in Water, You and I” series at Contemporary İstanbul 2019, Galeri Diani.
After completing her education in Marangoni in Italy and continuing her studies in İstanbul for a while, Nilüfer Yıldırım began to live and produce in New York, USA. We had a pleasant conversation with Nilüfer Yıldırım who is one of the representatives of the new generation and who successfully represents our country abroad in the art of painting.
You will meet with art lovers from İstanbul in September; can you share your feelings?
It is definitely the most enjoyable time for me to share something that I have worked on for a long time, pouring out my feelings and expressing myself. You do something, but how they are perceived, how do you evoke emotions in another person, can you add something to the audience, this is very enjoyable to observe and share. In this exhibition, I wanted to share the effects of major changes in my life in the last two years. After moving to New York, I feel very excited about the idea of exhibiting the paintings I have made with the feelings I have experienced here.
Can you make an evaluation of your works to be exhibited?
I will be presenting the works I have created in the last two years under two titles. The first year I came here, I was working on “Night for Day” and recently on “We Should Meet in Water, You and I”. Therefore, a selection of my works from 2018 and 2019 will be exhibited with Galeri Diani in 2019 Contemporary İstanbul. “Without a terrible depth, no perfect appearance can be formed on the surface,” says Nietzsche. Actually, this philosophy lies under the title “Night for Day”. They metaphorically emphasize the necessity of recognizing the dark, the importance of having lived, the necessity of hitting the bottom a few times to comprehend the existence of light and to present beautiful things, in other words, to capture the balance of life, experiences, knowledge, and certain satisfaction when talking about darkness and light, day and night. I tried to express this dilemma with the compositions that I developed on a black background with a smooth transition between figurative and abstract. “We Should Meet in Water, You and I” draws inspiration from the conductivity, purity, and cleanliness of the water and also refers to the communication problem we experience in our age. Using the phrase “We should meet in water, you and I” as a kind of metaphor, I wanted to point out that relations should be a pure, clean, direct and open platform for everything. I conveyed this idea with a flowing texture and compositions with shades of green and blue.
Could you tell us about your earlier meetings with art lovers in Turkey?
Since 2014, I am very happy to have the opportunity to exhibit and share my work in various venues or in the coziness of my own workshop. It is a very special feeling to talk to visitors about the philosophy underlying my paintings, even about a color or a texture, and to exchange ideas.
Could you give us information about the exhibitions you participated abroad?
I’m currently exhibiting several collage work at a group show in Upstate New York. We are working on a solo exhibition with a gallery. There will also be some projects that I will participate in Europe in 2020-2021.
What are the common and different approaches in reaction to your works in our country and abroad?
The general interest in my exhibitions in Turkey so far was the kind that surprised me. I have learned to explain what I cannot explain in other ways through my paintings, and the interest that this arouses on the other party has often surprised me, touched me and made me very happy. Those who know me know, it is perhaps one of my biggest problems to be understood in my life. Am I really understood? How much do they understand me? These are the questions I always ask. So it is a very satisfying feeling for me to feel understood. In general, the audience often recognizes the element of nature in my paintings and talks about how they make them feel. In general, everyone seeks a deeper meaning under the picture, captures a meaning of his/her own, and this creates an environment to chat. Of course, there are also those who only make a comment about color selection or forms, in other words, who make more abstract approaches.
If we go to your starting point, how did you get acquainted with the art of painting and the discovery of your talent?
I studied fashion design, art history, and graphic design. Although I initially thought that I was more interested in fashion; however, this interest of mine remained more on the consumer side compared to my interest in painting. Besides, I was very interested in graphic design and I was much more successful in the field. My graphic design teacher, whom I was a fan at that time, liked my compositions very much, thought that I had a special talent in this subject and suggested me to start painting, so I seriously did start doing it.
How did your New York adventure begin?
It began 2 years ago when I met with my husband whom we are expecting the birth of our baby soon.
Can you talk about your life in New York and your art circle?
The life here goes on at a high pace. There are a lot of things to see and do. I am still new here; I think two years is a short time for becoming a New Yorker. I am connecting slowly with people who design, create, and deal with beautiful things. Unfortunately, I have a conservative personality when it comes to that…
Can you tell us about the social and family factors that shapes your view of arts?
Although my mother is not a professional, she is very talented in many fields of arts. She paints and sculpts as a hobby. My sibling is an actor. I can tell that I grew up in a family that appreciated sense and perception. The biggest social factor was probably going to Italy after high school.
Can you tell us about the currents that influenced you as a new generation representative of contemporary art?
In connection with my personal style, ‘expressionism’ is the one that influences me the most.
What do you experience in the process of filling in artistic terms and creating new works?
I think that all you know, experience, daily encounters, moments or feelings you have in nature are the basis for your production, and then something else is needed to convey it. The conveying process is often painful, and I’m not an easy-to-please person, unfortunately, that process is spent by being hard on myself and not liking any of the works I do for a long time.
What is in your agenda after Contemporary İstanbul?
I will have a solo exhibition in April 2020 at Galeri Diani. Other than that, there are projects I will be participating in Europe in 2020-2021.
Do you come to Turkey often? What do you do when you come? What are your destinations?
I did not have the chance to visit often since I have moved to New York. Settling down here was my priority until today. When we came, we spent time in a few places we like in İstanbul and then went to the South. I tried to take part in plastic arts events that were offered because I came in summer when not many activities are held in this field. We prefer to go to Bodrum in the South, taking quiet boat trips, and visiting the Greek islands.