Deniz Bedir is a French-Turkish artist born in Marseille in 1997, who graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Paris-Cergy (ENSAPC) in 2021. For several years, he has been developing his own pictorial process, on the border of sculpture.
His practice follows a protocol composed of three stages. First, Deniz abandons himself to the energy of the gesture, equipped with a float and plaster mixed with pigments. On large wooden panels placed on the floor, the painter applies thick volutes of coloured matter, mixed freshly. In a second phase, the artist withdraws and the material takes over. The plaster flows, veined with pigments irregularly caught in the mass, take several days to set. The unctuous mass takes shape and becomes star-shaped with air bubbles. The work at rest is working to take shape. Then the artist rereads it. The painter takes on the role of sculptor, sanding the surface that has become solid and rough. The random distribution of pigments is matched by a virtuoso play on the textures and effects of the material, finely polished here, left raw there.
The imposing stature of the works, their depths, their presence, sometimes harsh, sometimes enveloping, invite the spectator to move around, to get closer, to grasp with his eyes the swirl of colours, the variations in relief, the fragility of the cracked plaster. The experience offered by Deniz’s pieces is, paradoxically, as meditative as the painter’s gesture is powerful. The Italian artist Ettore Spalletti (1940-2019), whose work had a profound effect on Deniz, can be remembered in front of them.
Resembling tall, heavy steles once they have been erected on the wall, Deniz Bedir’s sculpted paintings echo the steles of Ephesus in Turkey. In tension between the strength of the gesture and the fragility of the object, they remind us of these vibrant testimonies of our humanity, resistant to the centuries but not left unscathed by the marks of time.
Memory irrigates each part of the work, like a silt. The memories that bathe these paintings are linked to distant places, childhood or other shores of the Mediterranean. However, here they are infinitely present, across the distance. It is because they form the world that the artist carries within him. Deniz’s painting is the opposite of a practice on the motif. She summons the landscape by re-elaboration, lucid reverie. Each painting opens onto an inner landscape, a half-erased memory of the Mediterranean, to which only the inner vision and the gesture give form.
At each of the three stages of the creative process mentioned, a fourth movement is at work: variation. If Deniz Bedir tirelessly repeats a protocol, it is to allow the possibilities born of the encounter between memory and material to unfold more fully. The hazards of the material are her allies. Because of them or thanks to them, each canvas differs, resists the identity of the protocol. The titles of the paintings, mentioning the day and place of their creation, sometimes the present memory, underline this: under the apparent neutrality of the days, the unheard-of relief of our lives.
The artist’s serial style is also due to the nature of her material: plaster, the one used on building sites. Through this shared material, Deniz highlights those who usually handle it, masons and construction workers. In principle, the quality of their work is measured by the invisibility of their gesture. Deniz, on the other hand, shows the formation and deformations, the work and accidents of the material. So a question arises: what if the painter, by abandoning his creative authority to the unforeseen events of the material, did not only step aside in the face of chance, but also made room in his work for the work of others, who remain anonymous, but cease to be invisible?