Entitled Promise, the large-scale work created in 2019/2020 adds a fourth act to the artist’s Circus of Life series. It is Meral Alma’s greatest work to date.
The canvas that serves as the painting’s base is installed directly on the 8-by3-meter wall and covers its entire surface. As such the image becomes an immersive experience, as it completely occupies the viewer’s visual field. The setup as a whole is roughly inspired by the way so-called peep boxes created illusions of space in the 18thcentury.
The painting is distinct in its willingness to go beyond creating a colorful scene in the classic medium of acrylic and oil. The artist works with various layers and lights to enhance the connection between viewer and the painting and to encourage him or her to enter the world of images, such that the viewer him-/herself becomes the actual focus of the work.
Alma’s technique involves working with fluorescent color pigments that glow when exposed to certain certain wavelengths of light.
Though monochrome and symbolic in complete darkness, the light draws an unimagined spatial depth from a dark background. The extreme luminosity of the pigments brings particular areas to the fore and lends them an apparent sculptural quality, while other figures – boldly colored in bright daylight – appear to merge with the black background, all apparent materiality dissolved. The painting ceases to be confined by the contours of the canvas and seems to fuse with the space traditionally occupied by the viewer.
Further light-activated levels drain the color from both viewer and work, connecting them on yet another level…
…before yet another emerges.
And appears in other works in the exhibition as well.