Nazlı Gürlek

I am a painter who sets up ritualistic situations through which to scrutinize material, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the body together with themes such as birth, death, creation, agency, alchemy, ecology and the unconscious. I am interested in developing an aesthetic that reflects the here and now of authentic life experiences in order to speak of freedoms, agency, change and empowerment.

My works are tools that help me reclaim the body from the systems imprisoning it and replace it in a relational worldview where humans, non-humans and the environment are interconnected in the cosmic web of life. My process of embodiment consists in converting physical movements, emotional states, sensations and mental monologues to visual configurations, like a choreographer arranging curves, lines and shapes at alternating rhythms.

Through a self-reflexive, repetitive process rooted in the here and now of my own lived experience I collect data and measure it against natural phenomena such as gravity, liquidity, light, wind, heat and elements like water and earth. Chemical reactions are allowed to emerge by chance from the free interaction of materials within ordered frames. I sometimes invite performance artists to activate my installations and paintings. My primary influences include surrealism, mythology, archaeology, shamanism, indigenous cultures, and emotions.


My artistic sensibility is informed by the advantage of 15 years of curatorial experience, when I had the chance to work with the most interesting feminist artists, as well as artists with particular sensibilities toward material processes of art making, at some of the most prestigious institutions such as Mardin Biennial, Arter, Borusan Contemporary in Turkey and Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle and Venice Biennial in Europe among others. Lately I returned to a full-time art practice -my original language- in order to speak my own truth in response to some of the pressing issues of our time. I am a regular practitioner of expressive arts and dance therapy methods which all feed back into my art.