Op, not Pop reflects on the meaning of illusion in today’s abstract art in Turkey. Presenting artists of various generations, and disciplines, Plato Sanat’s current exhibition reveals different concepts and aesthetics in contemporary abstraction and optical art. Ranging from video to photography, as well as from painting to sculpture, the artists in the show underline the intellectual significance and formal richness of this fundamental matter of art’s theory and practice. At the same time, Op, not Pop deals also with pressing issues around the meaning of illusion in the context of our reality constructions. The artists at the show are interested in formalist ideas as well as in using strategies of Op Art for critically discussing the character of our mediated and manipulated reality.
Recently, an increasing number of artists in Turkey deal with optic art in the field of abstraction. Mainly with geometrical compositions, these artists explore the possibility of turning the flat surface of the still standing canvas or static 3-dimensional material into dynamic pieces of art. Creating the illusion of space and movement their works draw formal connections to the school of Op Art, where artists like Joseph Albers, Victor Vasarely or Bridget Riley had big influences on the further evolution of a formalist art and design. Working mainly with geometrical patterns, and following a solely formal interest, Op contributed to the development of an autonomeous and intrinsic understanding of art.
Our show points to the oeuvres of artists which on the one hand show references to matters of Op, but at the same time critically deal with the illusionistic character of our visual culture. Questioning the truth and sincerity of the visuality that we are living with, they use illusionistic techniques for discussing the matrix and visual being of realism and its representation per se. So, the artists at Plato Sanat use strategies of Op Art for merging them with current aesthetics of our digital age in order to comment on its impact on art and society. Different from classic Op artists, the protagonists at our exhibition prove that formalist geometrical abstraction and optic illusion can be combined with issues regarding the construction of our reality, where illusion is often used for hiding facts or misleading the people. In this sense, Op is understood neither as superficial pop nor as decorative ornament but a pressing matter that is fundamentally influencing our understanding of the post-truth-world, and therefore must be critically reviewed and reflected on.