Lütfiye Bozdağ: Portrait of an Artist: Deniz Gökduman

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Translation: Göksu Şimşek

Deniz Gökduman approaches the time he lives in with criticism by manifestation of the plastic style, it is traceable in his paintings. The social issues determine the concept of his paintings. He mostly treats political issues, social problems and woman in society. You can track down the oppositeness in his works like “Filistin Günlüğü” (Palestine Diaries), “Barışa Rock”, “Ne İçindeyim Zamanın Ne de Büsbütün Dışında”, “On Yedine Geldiğinde” (When You’re Seventeen).

2006, Anti CPE.T.Ü.Akr.B.50-70 cm..


Anti CPE, 50 x 70 cm., T.ü.akr.b., 2006

The artist, who starts off from photorealistic digital illustrations, focuses on a digital image which he derives from elements of popular culture using acrylic on canvas. We understand that he departed from a photographic image but his essential aim is not to capture this image but to question this subject oppositely. Starting out especially from images of consumption culture, he deals with ordinary images of daily life and images that dart in and out in a bombardment of iconic signs. In his paintings he analyses pop icons or popular persons from daily life as iconographic elements which transform to signs of reality and in between faces of reality that can never be captured.

2008, Havuz'daki Kadınlar V, 50 - 35 cm., T.Ü.Ark.B. Don Eddy Kol.


Havuz’daki Kadınlar V, 50 x 35 cm., T.ü.ark.b., 2008, Don Eddy Kol.

The artist respond to momentary digital impressions with the harmony of non-textured plain coloration and contrasting and his superficial descriptions which make reference to popular culture’s ephemerality instead of an effort of deep interpretation draw our attention. He points at constantly moving, impermanent superficial reality rather than the feeling of reality.

Gökduman’s prominently using of contours, fragmentedness, and borders in his figurative acrylic paintings on canvas brings a question corresponding the fragmentedness of the reality itself. This fragmentation appears in all of his paintings and portraits. The disintegration, boundaries, fragmentation symbolize the shattered images of the fragmented and self-alienated soul of the mankind these days.

2006, Sinan Cemgil'in Portresi. T. Ü. Akr. B. 50 - 70 cm.


Sinan Cemgil’in Portresi, 70 x 50 cm., T.ü.akr.b., 2006

The artist treats the concept of woman, one of the major subjects of the popular art, as a part of popular culture and he paints the woman who turned into a desire object in an erotic image. He almost forces the audience to look at the woman who is presented as a desire object with her lust, seductive and tempting attitude. Gökduman paints woman, who is reduced to a sexually charged object to look at, as an object of desire with her red lips and lustful eyes.

He uncovers the social gender codes attributed to woman and the situation of imprisonment of the woman’s body through icon females from the past to our time’s famous women. He deals the woman, once again an object of desire and a product of publicity as a consequence of being famous, a popular icon of flamboyant, extravagant society of spectacle, unhappy persons pretending to be happy and poker faces in an ironic framework.



 Yüzünki Korkular Verir Bana Nezaman Yüzüme Tutsam Yüzünü, 80 x 80 cm., T.ü.akr.b., 2009, Opr. Dr. Özcan Baznak Kol.

Gökduman questions our conscience fragmented in consumption frenzy of our time, self-alienation and human beings seeking for their real self, no matter man or woman, with his pop icons, in the formal fragmentation of essential elements of art, by means of the plastic style. The artist in this questioning examine especially popular culture in a style analogous to the pop art style, while softening the spaces formed by contours with color tones he creates a style which has a digital impact  but doesn’t sacrifice also the plastic arts taste. He approaches popular culture critically while using ready-made images and icons of Pop-Art which glorifies the consumption culture and publicity.

2010, Basketbol bana zevk verirdi, 150x150 cm. tuval üzerine akrilik boya, 7000 TL.


Basketbol Bana Zevk Verirdi, 150 x 150 cm. T.ü.akr.b., 2010

He reconstructs in a conceptional context ordinary life’s objects when he pass them to the two dimensional surface.

The fact that he alters the stability of the photorealist approach that captures the moment like a photograph, freeze the time and frame it, via moving, floating letters and numbers carries Gökduman to a  contemporary style derived from chronic Photorealist digital illustration. The artist who uses syllables of a sentence or a poem’s verses and sometimes numbers, prefers not to build sense but a meaningless, disconnected and deconstructional language. Just like Dadaists, he prefers using letters and numbers as decorative-plastic elements to make meaningful statements of them. He creates a new perception manner using unconnected letters and numbers in the same way that the Dadaists’ coincidental anthology that doesn’t generate meaning.


5 Aralık 1934, 70 x 100 cm. ( İkili ), T.ü.akr.b., 2008, Ankara Barosu Kol.

At first glance his paintings make feel an impressionist spirit on the background, on the other hand a new reading which uses the iconographic language of the pop art, the sensitivity of his personal manifestation offer the audience a new perception form.

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