Constructing the Abstract: NEJAD DEVRİM

2 February - 3 March 2018

Galeri Nev İstanbul is excited to present a solo show by Nejad Devrim, one of the first modernist painters of Turkey. Titled “Constructing the Abstract”, the show presents a selection of works on paper and paintings by Devrim, produced during his Paris years (1947-1968). Presenting some of the first examples of abstract art in Turkish history of art, the show aims to provide an insight into the creative process of abstract works.


The artist’s works on paper brought together with his paintings from the same period, bring into discussion the construction of an abstract work, and the degree to which such a work is open to encounters of chance. The paper works on display reveal the traces of artist’s investigation and pursuit of abstraction. They make the viewer question whether an abstract work can be designed beforehand and a preliminary design can be formed. These works, shown publicly for the first time, make us ponder how much discipline is needed to have an abstract method of expression. We question the difference between works made with rapid, gestural manners and the ones produced after a though-out composition. In the light of all these reflections, viewers witness the construction of abstract expression.


Nejad Devrim is among the Turkish artists who spent a significant period of his career in Paris. He is a painter who flourished in the libertarian atmosphere of Paris where artistic practice was fueled by an atmosphere open to criticism. His aim was different than the previous generation of Turkish intellectuals who came to Paris for a Western education only to replicate it in Turkey. Devrim was part of a generation who constituted

the first modernists of Turkey. His works were contemporaneous to modernist artists of his period and looked to actively participate in the European art scene.


Upon his arrival to Paris in the fall of 1946, Devrim made a swift entry to the Parisian art scene and opened up his first solo show in April 1947. He became the first painter from Turkey to open a solo show in Paris. He abandoned the figurative compositions that he commenced in Istanbul and produced works that would later be identified as the masterpieces of Turkish abstract art. He established a genuine place in the European art scene by carrying the multi-colored compositions of Byzantine mosaics to his works.

Devrim is recognized as the most important representer of geometrical and lyrical abstraction in Turkish history of art.