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Luck of the Devil

June 16, 2019 – July 21, 2019

Halka Art Project, Caferağa Mah. Dr. Esat Işık Cad. Ruşen Ağa Sok. No:8, Kadıköy 34710 Istanbul


Halka art project is currently showing Richard Bartle’s new exhibition, Luck of the Devil. Inspired by the works of 14th-century miniature painter and storyteller Mehmet Siyah Kalem (Mohammad of the Black Pen), Bartle focuses on Siyah Kalem’s demons, an imaginative and beautiful series of illustrations that seems to tell a moralistic fable through a collection of grotesque but lovable monsters in various scenes of debauchery. The exhibition features fifteen demon paintings and two sculptures, using them as agents of social observations whose subject matter feels just as relevant today.

The exhibition marks for Bartle the end of a fourteen-year journey of linguistic, historical, and cultural enquiry in Turkey, since his first encounter with the work of Siyah Kalem in the 2005 Royal Academy exhibition Turks. Nestled amongst the traditional Islamic illuminations and illustrations of palace life, Siyah Kalem’s idiosyncratic brush and ink observations embodied something more significant and anthropological: a delightful narrative of social encounters and characters that resonated with the stories and traditions of the Turkic nomads of Central Asia and the Silk Road.


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