Saturday, 7 March 2015

Mehmet Ali Uysal’s new exhibition ‘Block’ playfully dissects a contemporary art gallery

Block now showing at Pi Artworks in central London

In 2010, The Independent’s Top Ten Public Artworks featured Mehmet Ali Uysal’s giant installation of a clothes peg in Chaudfontaine Park, Liège, Belgium. Last month, Uysal’s first solo exhibition in Britain opened at Pi Artworks in central London. Titled ‘Block’, the Turkish artist’s playful style of work is again evident as he makes the exhibition space central to his installations, transforming the way a viewer both perceives and travels around the venue.

The Ankara-based artist uses his training as an architect to toy with the gallery’s space and materials, integrating them into his art through flawless illusion. In Uysal’s hands, the walls are no longer mere fixed layers of cement and plaster, but appear soft and malleable strips that fuse with his sculpted objects.

Mehmet Ali Uysal. Photo by Teri T. Erbeş
Uysal’s subject matter, the contemporary art gallery, has been cut up and transformed into a series of specimens disengaged from their original context. Walking around the gallery, the viewer is confronted by contorted concrete pillars, stone blocks and square wall sections that are strewn across the floor, while others are pinned to the wall like some caught animal.

One of the most exciting contemporary artists from Turkey, Uysal was born in Mersin in 1976 and originally studied architecture before turning to art. He gained a Masters in sculpture at Hacettepe University in 2005 and four years later received his PhD in Fine Arts from the same institution. His thesis study was on “Playing with Space”. His art work has been exhibited all around the world and can be found in numerous private and public collections, including at the Istanbul Modern Collection, the Audi Collection in Beirut, and the Samdani Art Foundation in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Exhibition ends: Sunday 28 March 2015
Address:  Pi Artworks, 55 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8EF
Opening Hours:  Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat 11am-6pm
Entrance: Free
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