Şen is a painter who does not deal in tradition. The final work does not rest on the appropriations of prior images. For example, the Ebru tradition, which an unaccustomed eye may propose as a quotation here, is not analyzed through a figure. Şen’s works withstand such references because they are part of a minority in contemporary Art in Turkey that do not solely rest on visuality. An exemption from simple visuality keeps the work immune from decorativeness.
His work has an affinity with that of Ömer Uluç’s. Uluç’s work, as he attests to it as well, glides through a narrow passage between figuration and abstraction. It is neither this nor that. It is also charged with a libidinal energy. In Şen’s work however, one is hard pressed to find an issue about figuration or abstraction.
Uluç’s works are that of passages and nomadism. In Şen there is no trace of a warm and drunk bodily sign. There is no signature and not even a sign. The image divorces itself from its configuration. It rests like a low relief, like an emblem over the canvas. Feel it and it will remind you of a geological map. Even though this has to do with the production of the image, it is seperate from its producer as well as its image. One could presume that these images resemble those anonymous figures often produced in contemporary Art in Turkey. But Şen’s works are not done according to a stable position of gender of identity. There are no fixed notions as to their function or position. They are in series and arised from a systematic approach, yet they do not have prototypes. Prototypes are often a rescue for the absence of a figure of thought. Şen’s works are not derived from the standard figure forms repeated in miniature painting. One can not ultimately make an issue of a representational figure in miniature painting. Şen’s images which look like bodies are not to represent anything and are not alike. They do not allude to anything other then themselves. Their mode of production too, shuts off the energetics of the signifying gesture of the Hand.
There are two different traditions of repetition. One is the Warholian kind where there is an allusion to a lost original or an absence of it. This kind of work operates within a field of mediatic circulation and reproducability. In the other generation repetition is interior to the image itself. In an icon for example, especially in the Byzantine-Balkanic tradition, Christ is a vehicte for all the other Christs. A body is not all the other bodies in Şen’s paintings, but there is an issue to be made with the repetition of it. In repetition, the image and what it is not form each other incessently. Large and small, in pieces and wholes there is one body in this series. It is of course a modular and paradoxically iconoclastic, structure that we see before us. Şen’s works do not take into recognition the issue of abstraction and figuration. The appearance and the denial of tradition is an issue to be tackled, but not through the isolation of a traditional motif by a modern sheen. Traditionalist approach is burdened by social goals. It is pedagogical, and makes an issue with historical lineage. There is no such grand narrative in Şen’s works. The traditionalist model likes to show a path to the future, and in thus it “shows” tradition. Şen’s works however, push back visuality and opt for an intimate and psychic space.
Although visually remote, Şen’s works are not unlike the iconic and byzantinizing works of Kandinsky around 1907 in Munich. The iconization of the body is not the same thing with its abstraction. In the icons of the Byzantine-Balkanic tradition, the muscles of Christ’s chest and abdomen are torn apart from each other and-are almost autonomous from His body. In Şen’s works, the image that comes to resemble a body after its disassembly and reassembly is the work itself. It may also make an allusion to the curvatures of the brain. Because that body is not brainless. It is a whole.
The unconscious is not fixed on the surface here. These works are not paintings of the unconscious. The unconscious can not be represented anyway. The body is sexual but is not drawn acording to the duality of the body and the brain. Erogenous zones are not isolated. The body does not have one true sex. Erogenous zones drift over the surface as the image becomes in itself a nomadic body. It is in erotic circulation homeless. The image is the home. The body erupts seperates, swells, reorders, and repeats itself.
Traditional approach operates by means of montage and consists of a transfiguration of a traditional image onto a modern surface; as Klee puts it, it merely renders the visible. It is necrophilia. In Şen’s work tradition is not represented. It is present and repressed all at the same time without an archaeology. In these works there is a retreat of visuality although they are not solely iconoclastic.
This image is of course an image of the body that reconstructs itself from one picture to another. It dissolves to pieces while staying a whole. It thinks with its own constituents, it deviates from sexual definitions and from its true functions. It is not a deformation because it is not derived from a prior image. It does not rest on appropriation because it is its own fiction. Plain and reductive, this painting forms its own frames. It is not a representation of here, but it is from here.