30.09. - 10.10.2021
Hi Senem, where are you right now?
_ Hi, I´m still in Spain.
I was wondering how you get along in Corona times. When you walk around and look at people, your main centre of attention, all the faces, mouths and tongues you are studying and painting, are hidden behind masks. But still they play the leading role in your new paintings.
_ Actually I didn't choose those mouth images consciously. For me they are
only strange, strong Instagram images. Maybe subconsciously it was a contra
towards Corona as I painted them during Corona times but I didn't try
How do you choose the persons we get to know in your drawings?
_Actually it depends. For me, who the person is that I choose for painting, is
secondary. The most important is how strong the images are. While you
are surfing on Instagram you stop one second and look at it. I mean it
catches you. Actually this is the idea of Instagram with it´s "likes". For
example there is a Dua Lipa painting. I don't know any songs of her but
I decided to paint the image.
What excites you about portraits?
_Basically I think what interests me the most is the expression of the
person in the image, what they are wearing and how they look. Fashion
related images may interest me more I guess. Not only but mostly.
In your „Instagram“-series I spotted Julia who is studying at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München like you do. All the others I have never met. What difference does it make whether you know the portrayed person personally or not?
_ It doesn't make any difference to me wether I know the people I´m
painting or not. For me the concept and the idea itself are more important
than who I´m painting. There is a huge pool of images and everybody is there.
Not everybody! In this pool of images you are talking about everybody seems to be younger than let´s say 30.
_ I mostly paint young people, yes. It is because I´m more interested what is
However there is one exception: Andy Warhol would have turned to be 93 years old this summer.
_Apart from Andy Warhol being a great amazing artist and muse I always
have a big interest in his art. As I said before I can choose any image
from this Instagram pool and why not Andy Warhol?
In classic portraiture artists used symbols or attributes to
characterize a person, to give an indication of their profession or social status. You often show fashion labels in your portraits like Moschino, Lacoste etc. Do you see this as a continuation of that tradition?
_Ah yes, I also had a classical art education before. It only allowed me
to draw and paint my current paintings quickly, correct and confidentially (in technical terms). But I think that I´m far from classical portraits in terms of understanding.
_Fashion and fashion brands show us the main present.
In your paintings one can sometimes find references to analogue media like old school glamour magazines (e.g. VOGUE), whereas the main issue of course are social media…
_I think it is a matter of need, people go for whatever they need to. For
what is faster, what is more reachable. In this case internet is always
primary comparing to the old school magazines.
And how are you dealing with social media personally?
__I started to use social media (Instagram) when I started doing my
Instagram works. Social media seems to me that people are there reminding
each other and updating themselves to the others. Everyone is there; big
brands are there that advertise themselves and ordinary individuals
too. It is kind of a big digital field where advertising and presenting
become limitless. I see it as huge presentation contest. But why not?
#FAME, HIPE, GLAMOUR, WATCHING, INTERACTIVE, DIGITAL, MASSIVE, DATA, COOL, STARS, INTERNET, YOUTH, SEXY
Senem Denli chatting with Anuschka Koos, September 2021
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