Using all the possibilities of painting, Altan Çelem’s work represents everyday life in a most original way. His mode of representation is far from imitation: it attracts the viewer’s attention by the thoughtful construction of his work associated with his experimental use of colour. Çelem embraces the adventure of painting and believes that each new theme can produce original creations. Thus, he assimilates the facts and brings them together with his own perception. Çelem’s simple approach to the objects of material and spiritual culture which surround him shapes the concrete world which he esteems. In addition, he combines these objects with the “things” he wants. Each object exists in its singularity, no matter whether the artist relates to it or not, whether he esteems it or not.

Çelem elevates his style to a precision which bears testimony to the images that appear and disappear in time and space, in landscapes as in figures. This necessary testimony addresses time from a broad perspective which includes both everyday life and urban culture, spatial perceptions and mind-body relations. It brings times close to the axes discussed by Henri Lefebvre, the famous French intellectual known as the “master of modernism”. This understanding relying essentially on the different forms of flows between the linear and cyclical time does not refrain from looking at the age of modernity, as Çelem does in his works. “Urban transformation” is one of the elements we encounter the most when look at these times under the guidance of Çelem’s work.

In the 21th century, in Istanbul as in other cities, we witness an irrevocable transformation of the cities under the name of “urban transformation”, following profit-oriented policies. What this controversial process has been deeply and relentlessly destroying for years is our cultural heritage, our ways of life, our human capital and our personal-social memory. In his works, Çelem performs a contemporary testimony, by casting his “gaze” to the times and spaces of change in perpetual “flow”.

Ali Gazi




Publisher Miltaş Turizm İnşaat Ticaret

1st Edition, 1000 copies

ISBN 978-605-2391-04-4

Organization Millî Reasürans Sanat Galerisi

Text Ali Gazi

Translation Noémi Levy-Aksu

Photography Arcan

Color separation and printing A4 Ofset Matbaacılık San. Tic. Ltd. Şti.


All the artistic works and content on this website belonging to Milli Reasürans Art Gallery cannot be copied, moved, published or used partially or completely without reference. By initiating the legal actions, the legal and criminal sanctions arising from the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works numbered 5846 and the Turkish Penal Code numbered 5237 shall be imposed on those who violate this matter.