It’s in 1976 that Emmanuelle Selimoglu confronts the world of painting for the first time.
She tries to translate, or rather to trans-write the poetic content of an attitude or of a gesture’s expression, of a reality carried by sight; docked barges, animals in a zoo… Parisian images from her years studying at l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
The acrylic she has since chosen to render these impressions would thus become her singular medium. A less constrainng material than oil paint, it allows her to work faster and thus helps her tame the superpositions of paint which characterize her perception.
A stay near Carcassone, then in Spain, make her discover the South, the Mediterranean, another architecture, another light. She falls then under the charm of an abandoned garden, is amazed by the way a piece of drying laundry traps the sun, and questions the power of fascination conjured by these familiar spectacles.
Capitalizing on the properties of acrylic she endeavours to retain the magic of these atmospheres by rendering them with interposed and interlaced colours.
Her works, however, leave her dissatisfied: Despite a tangible subjacent emotional load, she feels that they do not seem to render “the essence of things”.
Reproving an impression of easy seduction which appears to her as defining her work and plunging it into anecdote she abandons painting for a time to engage herself on a long period of introspection.
The -very narrow- passage from dream to reality is carried out not by evocation of the past, but through realization of the omnipresence of violence within life itself. Her thematic focuses then on scenes of tourneys or boxing bouts.
To this period of revolt succeeds -the calm after the storm-, in the silence of reflexion, a period of metaphysical inquiries on love, desire, death.
The figures who haunt her paintings aren’t defined as men or women but as beings; it is through the context of the situation they incur that they discover or rediscover their function, through this, their humanity.
She invites “the beholder” to follow her in her vagrancies, initiates it to the ambiguity of sight, forces it, as Cartier-Bresson once said, to “have a look which weighs, and finally questions”, makes it oscillate constantly between a diffuse recollection of reality and reality itself: present, burdensome, haunting.
In 1984 she discovers Turkey: She recognizes herself there, feels at home.
Still etched by dreams, the paintings she creates during this period henceforth integrate patches of reality, whether discreet or pronounced, impregnated with the atmosphere of Istanbul.
Following a break due to familial circumstances, Emmanuelle Selimoglu returns to painting (how could she have given it up?).
It is now Istanbul itself, Istanbul and its beauty, Istanbul and its paradoxes, its contradictions, Istanbul and its vibrant everyday life…, which she rediscovers and which from now on would become the sole object of her observations, of her jubilation.
She tackles the City, appropriates it in its colours and its forms to teach it to us.
Emmanuelle Selimoglu engages us in her painting and obligates us to see what she sees by placing us, according to her will, within or without the pictorial landscape.
To make reality more vivid still, to give importance to the “almost nothing”, to the insignificant, to the trivial, and through this, to admit her acceptation of everyday prosaic, she doesn’t hesitate to include crumpled paper (manifestation of a synthetic pseudo-relief), to juxtapose painted/photographed images, to let imprints of lace linger…
In her more realistic paintings (or are they truly?) Emmanuelle Selimoglu shows her inclination for the triangular game which exerts itself between the materiality of the object, the musings of the artist, and the exigencies of painting.
But perhaps Emmanuelle Selimoglu merely whispers to us: “silence, watch!”
-Alain & Paul Bisson, artist-painters of Le Groupe des 9+