Written by Sarah Mendelsohn
November 7, 2014
There’s something completely fascinating about the artwork of Turkish born, New York City based artist, HAYAL POZANTI. Her paintings feature a variety of different colored shapes, twisted and turned in ways that are never consistent throughout her many works. Despite the combination of imperfect geometry her paintings feature, they still appear orderly. Their lines are perfect as are the artist’s brush strokes. Her attention to detail is clearly immaculate. That comes through in conversation with her as well, she is clear in expressing her opinions, inspirations and motives. When describing her work, it quickly becomes apparent that Pozanti’s perfectly painted squiggles are more than just that…
How did you first garner interest in art? Is it something your parents supported? Why did you decide to become an artist?
There’s no specific moment I can point to. I’ve been making things since I was a baby. My parents have always been very supportive. They noticed my inclination towards visual art at a very early age and have guided me in pursuing it. I feel extremely lucky in that sense. I did not make a conscious decision to become an artist. I had some things I wanted to say and the way I said them turned out to be art.
I see you were born in Turkey and also studied there. How has growing up in and studying in Turkey affected your artwork?
My undergraduate art education in Turkey was conceptually driven. I was encouraged to disregard the object and focus on my ideas. This has given me the rigor of thoroughly questioning why I make the things I make, what they might mean and why it’s necessary that I make them.
Do you see a huge difference in the industry there versus the American art world?
I don’t think I would use the term industry for any context related to art, but if you mean comparing the two art worlds, I would say they are pretty much similar. There are fairs, biennials, museums, galleries, collectors and artists. Of course, the American art world dwarfs the Turkish one in terms of the market and funds, but that is an economic reality, which only mirrors the larger one.
Where do you find inspiration for your work? Take me through the process of creating a painting.
I question and analyze how technological progress effects creativity, consuming habits and physical presence in the world. For several years I’ve been investigating the idea of original content. It began when I asked myself how an artist could create a unique and universally recognizable visual language within an infinite image realm: the internet. The idea of immediate recognizability within the image economy and the value that this creates on the physical object have been my primary interests. In order to follow this process, I came up with a literal alphabet of shapes that I combine and recombine to generate compositions. No final shape must resemble the previous shapes and no shape must reference any object in the world. Painting, in this sense, is only a means of creating these information vessels.
This is an interesting concept. What are you currently working on?
I have just completed and shipped a group of work for the New Orleans Biennial. Currently, I am spending my time reading, writing, thinking, absorbing information and making connections. Slowly working on some new paintings in the studio to let ideas loose visually. I will soon start working towards my solo show at Jessica Silverman Gallery coming up in March and also a book project that has been on the burner for quite some time.
You create both painted works and digital collages and gifs. Do you have a preference in medium? Do you think it’s important as a contemporary artist to go beyond painting and use digital devices to create art?
I started making art digitally and came to making physical objects and paintings in a roundabout way. Therefore, I can safely say each has it’s own setbacks and advantages. Personally, the beauty is being able to create something that could co-exist in both realms. This is something I strive towards and always consider when making my work. I don’t think it’s important that contemporary artists go beyond painting and use digital devices. It all depends on what you’re most comfortable with and what you’re trying to convey.