Painting with Ayse Somuncu

30 June 2022


31 July 2022
Sexyland World
At her studio at the Atelier Bijzonder Amsterdams Noord, Ayse Somuncu works on her paintings a few days a week. She also works on ceramic and textile pieces. The exhibition Painting with Ayse Somuncu revolves around her paintings.

‘My life is drawing,’ says Somuncu. Her production is a testament to that dedication. When she starts in the morning, however, she often does not know what she will make that day. Together with her supervisors, she comes up with a subject and gets to work. Then her work arises in the moment and she takes the time to make it beautiful.

Somuncu’s work has a clear visual language. It is exuberant, colorful, playful and figurative. Yet it is not always immediately apparent what a work is supposed to represent. Whether or not that matters is the question. Ask Somuncu what she has painted; one time she says it’s a doll, the next time a monster. It is indicative of her open-mindedness and inscrutability.

The self-portrait is a recurring motif in Painting with Ayse. In the studio, her photographs are projected on the wall, which she draws over and that forms the basis for these works. What is striking is how ruthless she is to herself in this. She doesn’t need to look pretty, or ugly. That is refreshing in this day and age where almost everyone is busy constructing an image of themselves. Somuncu explicitly does not participate in that.

There are also a lot of eyes with big eyelashes, spiders, hearts and monsters. Sweet monsters, though.

What, according to her, should absolutely be in this text? ‘If people want to collaborate, if they want me, they should let me know. They are always welcome.’ She repeats this a few times, like a mantra. ‘If people want to collaborate, if they want me, they should let me know. They’re always welcome.’ And then, ‘If they’re not grumpy’.

For this exhibition she collaborated with Jan Hoek (‘pannenkoek’) and curator Bas Kosters (‘oelewapper’). Earlier Bas and Ayse made a collection together for OutsiderWear, a streetwear project where ‘regular’ artists worked together with ‘outsiders.’ This was presented in 2021 in the Melkweg, Galerie Fleur & Wouter and the Outsider Art Gallery, among others.


Text: Ko van ’t Hek