Selected works by Mustafa Hulusi

Mustafa Hulusi
Exstacy Almond Blossom 3 (L)

2008

Oil on canvas (2 parts)

244 x 325 cm

“I try to make my art as visually attractive as possible to arrest the gaze. They’re designed to stop you in your tracks and hold your attention, and I’ll use what I have to in order to get them to do that. The images are open-ended and have no specific narrative, they’re universal signs that anyone could understand. I take my starting point from flora and fauna from the island of Cyprus, my country of origin. These paintings show almond blossoms I saw there a while ago. I couple these natural elements with abstract motifs. The paintings have an impact that describes the process of looking, whilst you’re looking at it. They have a trippy aspect and are also like religious motifs. They could be mystical signs for infinity or the latest pop album cover. There’s a deliberate ambiguity in the signs and what they represent. These works from my Exstacy Almond Blossom series were the first instances where I combined my abstract and figurative paintings. I see the different styles – figuration and abstraction - as the two strands of art that describe reality.”

Mustafa Hulusi
Exstacy Almond Blossom 8 (L)

2008

Oil on canvas (2 parts)

244 x 325 cm

“I’m interested in traditional Islamic art that entwines geometric patterns with floral motifs; the modern interpretation of that might be op art meets hyper-realist figurative paintings. Combined, they do a similar thing in creating a visual fixation that evokes metaphysical experience. There’s an art historical lineage that I’m following and I think of my work as painting archetypal ‘formats’. There’s a ‘time travel’ process going on: op art and hyper-realism were from the 60s and 70s and take into account photography and mass media. I skip a couple of decades to now in order to re-contextualise these modes, via skipping through centuries in the past and finding equal inspiration in Islamic tile work. I’m moving around different parts of history, mining where needs be, to describe contemporary reality. They convey as much information as possible with the slightest suggestion of gesture, and have a sense of collapse where you realise it’s not actually a photograph but a painting.”


Articles

At the Cyprus Pavilion, Fruit With an Unexpected Bite


Renee Van Halm, a hard-nosed artist now living in Berlin, couldn't image liking photo-realist paintings of fruit. Neither could Washington collectors Barbara and Aaron Levine. That couple's taste runs to Marcel Duchamp, and they're happy to buy art that's not much more than some words on a wall. For my part, I have often railed against art that's all about looking back toward traditional technique rather than forward with new ideas.

That's why all of us were surprised to exchange notes and find we'd enjoyed just such paintings, in a sweet little rented palazzo well off the beaten track that houses this year's Cyprus pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Artist Mustafa Hulusi, born in Cyprus but now doing well in London, has filled two rooms in the palazzo with his pictures, which reach almost from floor to ceiling in the light-bathed space.

Read the entire article here
Source: washingtonpost.com