Dr. Paolo RIZZI    (Art Critic)

Venezia _ ITA
A female nude is before us, offering herself, surrounded by a mysterious azure light.  She seems out of a Northern European painting of the early Renaissance.  But something is wrong: on one shoulder, under the breast and over the pubis are weird little tubes, worm-like filaments which seem made of plastic.
Strange and contrasted: these are the primary characteristics of this troubling Turkish artist who, after spending ten years in Austria, Germany and France, comes to exhibit here in Venice.  A new and original presence which cannot leave one indifferent, as it touches contemporary mankind's vital nerve centers.
Nezir paints with the old masters constantly in mind, but with the consciousness of the tense duality of an age torn between humanism and a fascination with technology.  He calls his paintings "physio-mechanical."  In them, man's physiology is contaminated by a sort of mechanical leprosy, which climbs up the skin (in the form of fine plastic tubes, pumps, manometers, switches and levers), replacing nerve bundles, especially under deformed and bald skulls.  An impressive accomplishment in that it contradicts any normal view: the technological monster is placed within the body, forming horrifying growths.  Nezir accpmplishes this while remaining true to the heart of the painting, avoiding the artifices and technicity of fashionable neosurrealism.
I was surprised by certain paintings and drawings Nezir did as a young painter from Tatvan, Eastern Anatolia (Nezir is of Kurdish origin) while in Istanbul, still ignorant of the influences of the Italian Renaissance and German mannerism.  This same style became more refined during his six-year sojourn in Vienna.  From the start, Nezir obviously showed an innate affinity for European painting, and something pushed him to root out the near-Eastern tradition and replace it with the thick meandering of Nordic fable.  As years went by, cultural affinities defined themselves as Nezir's work reached for a general climate more than a precise model.  It is indubitable that the influence of Leonardo played an important role form the beginning.  There are also references to Breugel in the physical deformations; the stylized aristocratic figures from the protorenaissance of Durer; the mystery of Cranach; even certain visions of otherness swarming with life of Altdorfer.   Above all, the clash of classical 15th century Italian art with the intrigue of German gothic, comparable to the confrontation of styles that gave rise to mannerism.  Here, the painting of Nezir attains voluptiousness.
It is interesting to see how Nezir succeeds in amalgamating fabulous traditional themes with the tastes of today-- a splash of surrealism, echoes of German Sachlichkeit (Otto Dix in particular), a bit helping of magical realism and an eye-opening dose of savory science fiction inventions.
Certain audacious perspectives from above, certain fragmentation in the deliberate elongation of form, certain obsessions in naturalistic introspection, and above all the mix of old and new (i.e., the human and the mechanical) add to this painting's fascination.  These same deformations become not a game of formalism, but an expressive element of high psychological content.  Imbalance and incongruity are naturally present as disconcerting factors.  And especially, the mechanical insertions in the body (the above-mentioned tubes and filaments) produce a tormented image infused with poignant symbolic quintessence.
A painting like this, with its anachronisms and classical references, causes shock waves in the panorama of today's art scene.  We are face to face with such a strong immersion into the past that it produces strange forward movements; we cannot tell history from fantasy.  Nezir moves in ambiguous territory, where the risks are high but so is the spirit of challenge, of adventure.  Given current cultural context, this is perfectly plausible.  The coherence with which this challenge is carried forward with painterly boldness and the patience of a medieval minaturist are undeniably admirable.
A Turk from Kurdistan comes to us in Venice, a city still imbued with mid-Eastern influence, to unlock a world (that of German gothic, modeled by the renaissance spirit of Durer) which seems frozen in its gilded molding.  We can say that history can be delivered to us through fantasy.  The tubes protruding from the woman's body attest to this improbable result.