Çiğdem Menteşoğlu, an artist who has journeyed from Istanbul to Europe and now lives and works in Newcastle, England, is on the move. She feels like a nomad, even when working in her studio. The process of moving is a process of navigating uncertainty in an unstable world, and of changing consciousness about places along the way.
Employing traditional media like oil paint and ink, Çiğdem’s experience of place imbues her creative process with emotion and maps. “My work is based on personal history; every work has its own story exploring the notion of boundaries, both physical and emotional.”
Themes in Çiğdem’s paintings emerge from psychology (both sensation and perception) and philosophy (aesthetics) which underpin the visual mystery and power of memory’s associative realm.
Her aim is to explore, visually, the state of consciousness and the emotions related to place. She reflects that “making art and painting are ways of mapping yourself, of making your own cartography in a sense.”
Çiğdem’s fascination dwells with place, relationship, privacy, emotional codes of personal experience and their shifting representation in thought and art. “We create space, but space also creates us,” Cigdem says.
Personal experience in a place, or meditating on a place, leads Çiğdem to express cartographic and artistic subjects, and to convey relationships, not only with a place but with the local people she meets. As she moved from Turkey to England, she felt the difficulties and unfortunate situations faced by the stream of recent refugees moving northward into Europe. Insecurity in an unstable world is a theme she turns from her personal experience to her gallery walls.
While there are factors behind her moving from one place to another–instinct, academic or work reasons, desire, need–Çiğdem sees her path as a personal destiny, a path she must follow.
What does she see in each place? A memory. A memory of emotions, situations, dreams, and consciousness.
You can find Çiğdem at http://cigdemmentesoglu.com, follow her on Twitter @cigdil, and see more of her on Instagram @mencigdem.