About The Work
In the Portraits series, Berksoy, continuously seeking novel ways to draw music and drama in her paintings, gives the central stage to the people who have played significant roles in her life and in her time. As a wonderful storyteller, Berksoy had a unique way of capturing the essence of the person she portrayed; allowing the soul to become visible beyond the visage. While the people in the portraits age in time, Berksoy stays forever young; always daring, always ahead. Her energy is reflected in her lines that defy any art-historical style and draw the viewer into her cosmic world. The portraits enliven, grow, travel, and tell the stories of the people from Berksoy’s musical, private, and fantasy worlds. Berksoy’s portraits had a dual function of being both characters and memoirs in her life: she surrounded herself with them, talked to them, and fed herself through them. Her bedroom, which she designed like an art installation, was covered from wall to wall with portraits that lived with her, mirroring her inner self and allowing her life story to be carried into the future.
Semiha Berksoy is one of the leading figures in the cultural scene of the early years of Turkish Republic and one of the first internationally recognized Turkish artists, with her unique and natural talent. At the age of 19, she was accepted to Namık Ismail Workshop at the Academy of Fine Arts, where she studied ceramics with Hakkı Toygar. The following year, she was also a student in Darülbedayi Drama School founded by Muhsin Ertuğrul. As a pioneer with a multi-faceted artistic approach, Berksoy starred in the first Turkish sound movie and performed in the first Turkish opera, in addition to countless shows all around the world. After graduating from the Berlin State Music Academy as primus, she was awarded the titles of ‘World Class Opera Singer’, ‘Primadonna’ and ‘State Artist’. In a life dedicated to art, she also made great contributions in the field of visual arts. Her works were included in renowned international exhibitions such as 1997 Istanbul Biennale, 1998 Manifesta II and 2005 Venice Biennale.
Founded in 2001 in Istanbul, Galerist is one of the leading contemporary art galleries in Turkey. Since then the gallery has established a reputation for nurturing the careers of outstanding Turkish contemporary artists and introducing their work to a global audience whilst simultaneously bringing some of the best and most challenging international, contemporary art to Istanbul. With a view to supporting Turkey’s growing contemporary art world Galerist has, since 2006, published Art Unlimited, one of country’s leading art magazines. The gallery continues to pursue a creative direction that that balances the emerging and the established and national and international artists – with the constant aim of presenting and supporting outstanding contemporary visual art practices.
Galerist Tepebaşı is the main exhibition site of the gallery. The historical building which dates back to the 18th century provides 250m2 of exhibition space and includes the gallery’s administrative offices.