Leylâ Gediz (b. 1974, Istanbul, Turkey) is known for her ground-breaking contributions to the field of painting and installation.
One of Gediz's defining characteristics as an artist is her ability to seamlessly blend painting and installation into a cohesive and transformative experience for the viewer. She has developed a mode of representation that intertwines these two mediums, challenging traditional notions of art and expanding the possibilities of visual storytelling. Her works evoke a sense of intrigue and contemplation, often eliciting emotional responses from those who engage with her pieces.
Driven by her fascination with the movements and experiences of diasporic individuals around the world, Gediz seeks to explore the intersections of culture, identity, and memory. She approaches her art as an archaeologist of everyday fragments, excavating the emotions embedded within them. Through the use of random and found objects, as well as human subjects who hold personal significance, Gediz constructs narratives that bridge the realms of reality and imagination. Her compositions delicately balance light and shadow, volume and space, creating a nuanced interplay that draws viewers into her artistic universe.
The current exhibtion at Purdy Hicks Gallery, titled Missing Cat, is the first solo show of Gediz' work in the UK. Stray cats are very common in Lisbon, but even more so in her native city, Istanbul. She draws a parallel here with the rising number of immigrants deserting Istanbul for cities across the globe due to Turkey's socio-political disquiet and its economic instability under the AKP government. Gediz herself is one such immigrant in Portugal, and it is this precarious condition that has shaped most of her work of the last five years.
Moved by the durability and versatility of discarded bits of furniture, personal items and waste material she regularly finds on the streets of Lisbon, Gediz reassembles them in juxtaposition with the common tools of equipment of her studio. The resulting compositions are painted matter-of-factly, embodying the light and shadows of the room they are in, or otherwise by staging several layers of their own configuration.
Gediz attained her Master's degree in Visual Arts from Goldsmiths College in London in 1999, following a Bachelor's degree in Fine Art (Painting) from Slade School of Fine Art at UCL in London in 1998. She has had solo exhibitions across Istanbul, Los Angeles, Zurich, Helsinki, and Amsterdam, in which her work has gained widespread critical acclaim. Her work is included in many prestigious public and private collections, including Istanbul Modern, Arter (Istanbul), ARCO Foundation (Spain) and Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven).