“Bir Usta Bir Dünya: Mengü Ertel” at Yapı Kredi Kültür Merkezi

By Cornucopia | April 6, 2011

After the massive, attention-grabbing PastPresentFuture show which took place there over the winter, the Yapı Kredi Cultural Centre presents something a little smaller, but no less brilliant. Devoted entirely to the work of the peerless graphic designer and artist Mengü Ertel (1931-2000), it showcases a little of everything that he turned his hand to. The main body of the one-room exhibition is turned over to his work as a poster designer, in which he was initially encouraged by Muhsin Ertuğrul, the great Turkish film and theatre director. Ertel's eye for the eye-catching is particularly evident in these works (above and below), which were exhibited at exhibitions, biennials and museums from Brno to Brussels. Not only does the viewer get to see the finished work, but also the sketches and preparatory paintings used in the creative process. This helps to understand the way in which his work developed over time, as well as showing his influences - or, perhaps, the influence he had on others, most notably Polish poster designers of the 60s and 70s.

Another major element of the retrospective is formed of the work which Ertel did based around faces. On entering the exhibition, the viewer is presented with a wall of these, made from a combination of newspaper pictures and his own freehand drawings; later, two entire cabinets are filled with melancholy, elongated faces painted on narrow strips of paper. Elsewhere, his work on logos and book-covers, as well as his paintings, are covered. Beyond this, there are some rather touching pieces of ephemera spread throughout the show. His studio is recreated, his drawing materials are laid out, and even his waistcoats are displayed. All in all, Bir Usta Bir Dünya is not only an unmissable exhibition, but a wonderful tribute to a brilliant artist. Yapı Kredi Kültür Merkezi, İstiklal Caddesi 161 Beyoğlu 34433 İstanbul. Entrance free. Until 23 April.

Posted in Contemporary Art Tagged mengü ertel, muhsin ertuğrul, yapı kredi cultural centre
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