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LOVE IT TAKES TWO


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Persistency  Acrylic on Canvas,,40×26×68cm


Relinquisher  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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Bonded Passionately  Acrylic on Canvas,,122X122cm


LOVE ­- IT TAKES TWO —

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LOVE - It Takes Two By Coline Milliard

What is more important than love? What is more fulfilling and thrilling than meeting one’s other half, the only being in the world that complements one perfectly? In his latest series of acrylics on canvas It Takes Two, Coplu celebrates the miracle of love. Using an extraordinary palette of bright colours, he stages two characters, a man and a woman, going through different stages towards harmony. The artist is no naïf – he is fully aware that daily life is much harsher than the round and vivid universe he depicts in his work. But together these pieces form a manifesto. Coplu purposefully embraces the positive side of existence; his paintings are an ode to happiness, joy, humour and love.

It takes two – to love, to live. In this series, Coplu uses the relationship between two beloveds as a metaphor for something bigger: the essential need that all things in life have for another in order to exist. ‘Everything takes two’, the artist told me. Like a lover needs her lover, fish need the sea; plants need the sun. Coplu clearly attempts to go beyond humankind’s particularities and touch on the intrinsic and intimate functioning of the world. Once again, the butterfly comes as an apt metaphor: by choosing such a short-lived and magnificent creature, Coplu not only captures in paint those relationships’ fleetingness, but he also alludes to the fragility of life – and the need to preserve it.

The figure of the heart-butterfly is the leitmotif of this series. The wings of the colourful creature are shaped like that almost-universal symbol of passion, and each wing is totally essential to the other; the heart-butterfly couldn’t come into being with only one of them. Like love, it takes two to be. In Coalescence of Lovely Souls, this motif remerges as the heads of two lovers sitting side by side. Together, they are one blossoming heart.

From Dawn to Dusk is the very first painting Coplu made for this series. A man plays the guitar under a large tree that flutters with multicoloured heart-butterflies and his female counterpart stands nearby, listening. They both contemplate the ultramarine immensity of the sea as the sun sets. There is, in the piece, an inescapable feeling of calm and serenity, but also a sense of melancholy. The two characters don’t communicate at all with each other. They look afar, as if expecting something to come – or perhaps mediating over their past.

Cropping up in various forms, canvas after canvas, the heart-butterfly gives a strong pictorial coherence to the series – and yet there is no feeling of repetition, as Coplu gives to his motif different roles and significations that change with each work. The heart-butterfly, embodying the yearning for the other, can become, for example, a vehicle. In Restless Soul, it is a hot air balloon; in Faithfully Voyaging a man uses it as a vessel to navigate with his family the darkness of the night. In some other paintings, the heart-butterflies appear to be little companions to the lovers, a flock of friendly beings accompanying them in their quest for a meaningful life together.

In the 1980s Coplu worked as a cartoonist in his native Turkey. For five years, he contributed cartoons to the Turkish Daily News, and his illustrations have been published worldwide. The artist is now fully concentrating on painting, but something of cartoons’ visual efficiency remains in his pictorial language: a simple and accurate line, the directness of his images and their immediate impact. This impact is enhanced by the artist’s technique. Except for the backgrounds, all the subjects in Coplu’s paintings are applied on the canvas with a palette knife, a method which


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gives them a very distinctive texture. They are almost in relief, more fully present to the viewers with whom they seem to share the same space. Clearly influenced with Coplu’s past as a cartoonist, the characters themselves contribute to a sense of intimacy between painting and beholder. The artist has made his Adam & Eve very mundane. They are plump, with round bellies and thick fingers – remote from the idealised figures usually chosen to embody the mysteries of love between man and woman. Coplu’s lovers have something of the caricature about them, and their imperfections make them much easier to identify with. Moreover, as any of us would be, Coplu’s beloveds seem bemused by what’s happening to them – overwhelmed, perhaps, by the strength of their own feelings. Looking at this series, one could get the impression that these characters are always the same ones; that the works unravel as the different adventures of one single couple. A closer look reveals their differences, but together they nonetheless construct a metanarrative embracing the development of a love affair. Each painting stands as a concise tableau, the embodiment of one of the myriad situations in which one can find oneself when looking for love or living in a relationship. And if there is an overarching feeling of joy in these works, Coplu doesn’t exclude more difficult aspects of love: the wait, the disappointment and the separation.

The Relinquisher has a male figure carrying a butterfly net. The sky is teeming with magnificent heart-butterflies but he ignores them and looks away, as if waiting in vain for the missing one. In Young at Heart, a woman and her child see the father flying away, from flower to flower, deserting his family for more enticing pastures. In Restless Souls, the man in the hot air balloon gondola is reaching out with his butterfly net, as if unsatisfied with the woman standing quietly by his side. Love can be as painful as it can be fulfilling, and Coplu pictures it in all its complexity. In the end, though, happiness prevails. In Celebration of Faith 2, the lover has become a heart-butterfly himself. His wings are spread under his body like a luxurious carpet, more adorned and intricate than the ones of any other heart-butterflies in the series. He has become love and floats in bliss. ‘Dream is power’, Coplu told me. The artist may claim not to be interested in real life, but his paintings bring us an irresistible energy. Each one is an encouragement to adopt a positive outlook on existence. They depict an oneiric and symbolic world, which, in its own way, contributes to the transformation of ours.


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Celebration of Faith I  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm

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Rooted Transformation  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Celebration of Faith II  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Gathering Soul  Acrylic on Canvas,,152x152cm


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From Dawn To Dusk  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Resurrection  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Glorious Metamorphosis  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x122cm


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A Subtle Presence  Acrylic on Canvas,,122X92cm


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Evolving Nest  Acrylic on Canvas,,152x152cm


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Pleasuring One’s Soul  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x122cm


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Little Dreams - Big Souls  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Souls of Side By Side  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x122cm


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Celebration of Unity  Acrylic on Canvas,,122X92cm


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Sheltered By Loving Souls  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x122cm


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Watching Gracefully  Acrylic on Canvas,,100x100cm


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Faithfully Voyaging  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Strong Bonds  Acrylic on Canvas,,92x76cm


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Purely Soulful  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Nourishing the Souls  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Playful Souls  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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Mutual Seizure  Acrylic on Canvas,,100x100cm


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One Life One Soul  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Celebration of Depth of Souls  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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Anchoring Souls  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x92cm


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Resemblance  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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from left: Step By Step Forward Or Far  Acrylic on Canvas,,276 x76 cm (Tryptic)


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Reflections of Beyond Contradiction  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x183cm


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Conformity of Intricate Souls  Acrylic on Canvas,,152x152cm


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In Depth of My Soul  Acrylic on Canvas,,76x76cm


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Romantic Affluences  Acrylic on Canvas,,152x152cm


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Persistency  Acrylic on Canvas,,40×26×68cm


Young At Heart  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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Vigilant Consideration  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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Unquestionable Embrace  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x122cm


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Symphonic Soul  Acrylic on Canvas,,152x152cm


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Volunteered Captives  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Coalescence of Lovely Souls  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


HOPES W O ND E R S OF EXISTENCE &


Wonders & Gains  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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The Yummy Side of Life  Acrylic on Canvas,,92x76cm


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Lucky Survivors  Acrylic on Canvas,,92x76cm


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Hopes & Wonders of existence by Ana Finel Honigman, art critic

Coplu’s creatures appear soft and sweet but they grapple with the same existential concerns as us all. Like heroes from a fable, the challenges that these sympathetic creatures address are abstracted versions of common human concerns. Their dramas and joys are compelling metaphors for the fundamental issues underlining our universal struggle for understanding and happiness. In his current series, Coplu casts his creatures within poetic scenarios involving oversized eggs. The eggs are seen either unbroken, as empty shells or presented like the delicious highlight on a breakfast plate. In both cases, the eggs serve as striking symbols of life’s potential and its mysteries. The Turkish-born Canadian artist’s use of eggs reflects their power as symbols for creativity, purity, mortality and hope. As Picasso wrote, “When you start with a portrait and search for a pure form, a clear volume, through successive eliminations, you arrive inevitably at the egg. Likewise, starting with the egg and following the same process in reverse, one finishes with the portrait.” Outside of art, eggs are simply the origin of all life. Children often encounter their first experience of birth by watching a chick hatch from an egg. We may intellectually understand the importance of eggs in biology but seeing birds’ eggs hatch makes the reality of birth immediate and intimate without forcing a clear confrontation with sexuality and the bloody biological reality of maternity in mammals. A chick popping out of an egg is as wondrous as magic. But it also educates children in the natural processes of life. Coplu’s male and female creatures have similarly plump bodies but his females possess distinctly maternal physiques. They have full

bosoms and bountiful hair. They seem warm and motherly. Family and community are keys to Coplu’s universe. The eggs symbolize potential birth in these images just as they do for children. Their appearance is joyful. Although the shells are empty, Coplu’s creatures fill them with love and hope. This symbolic significance is addressed in many of Coplu’s egg images. In one painting, a couple sits together in an open eggshell. The egg itself has been removed and the couple chastely inhabits the shell but their presence together evokes their potential as parents. In another image, the couple relaxes in an eggshell floating through space attached to a balloon of clouds. In Coplu’s work clouds represent dreams. In this instance, the clouds clearly represent the couple’s dreams and the power of their love to hoist them above otherwise rocky and bleak terrain. The sky surrounding them is dark and turbulent. The ground is dotted with eggs and hard hills. The earth beneath them seems precarious but the dreams uphold the nest that they create together in the eggshell. It is a lovely and reassuring vision of domestic security and romantic contentment. A comparably mournful image shows the same couple rests within their egg but it is no longer aloft. It is grounded and rooted in the dense earth. They watch two floating clouds and appear to contemplate their relationship. The sentiment is tender, not bitter. But a sense of potential loss is still gently conveyed. Eggs’ potential as symbols of hope and disappointment is illustrated in a dramatic painting by Coplu in which one of his creatures pushes a whole egg up a mountain while


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others watch. The far side of the mountain is crowded with forgotten eggs. The gesture seems futile and curious but the evident determination of the worker creates a sense that the activity itself provides potential solace and self-discovery, in keeping with some interpretations of the Sisyphus. One of the paintings evokes a proverb from Coplu’s native Turkey, which translates into: “Today’s egg is better than tomorrow’s hen.” As the proverb makes clear, an egg has less objective value than a hen but it is still superior to the fantasy of a hen in the future. However, the existence of similar proverbs throughout multiple cultures demonstrates mankind’s susceptibility towards investing in fragile and false hope. The positive implication of this quote is that hope can transcend reality. This sentiment possibly inspires the group of creatures gathered on a series of rocks watching another of their kind travel the sky in a vessel with an egg as it sails. Ironically, the egg is sunnyside-up. In this state, it will clearly never

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become a chicken. It’s potential for giving life has been arrested. As food, a cooked egg can contribute to another creature’s nourishment but it cannot independently become an autonomous thing. However, it’s appearance hovering above the heads of Coplu’s creatures still generates obvious hope within them. They gaze at it with understandable wonder and envy their brethren flying under its steed. Although eggs represent many aspects of our emotional and intellectual investment in life’s potential, eggs also signify the limits of our understanding of life. Eggs’ simple but significant symbolic meaning is summed up in the eternal conundrum: which came first, the chicken or egg? Like Coplu’s charming characters, this riddle’s apparent simplicity belies its hidden profundity.


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Admiration of Mysteries  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm opp: Existential Responsibilities  Acrylic on Canvas,,150x100cm


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Instinctively Influenced  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Unpredictable Beginnings

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Acrylic on Canvas,,76x76cm


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Faith In Mysterious Wonders  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Joyous Existence  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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Circumstantial Existence  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm opp: A Giant Call  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x122cm


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Lost In Absurdity  Acrylic on Canvas,,92x76cm


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Pre-reflexive Ambition  Acrylic on Canvas,,92x76cm


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Determined By Surrounding  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Carrying A Mutual Hope  Acrylic on Canvas,,92x76cm


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Mysterious Appearances  Acrylic on Canvas,,92x76cm


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Consideration For A New Beginning  Acrylic on Canvas,,76x76cm


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Nothing Matters  Acrylic on Canvas,,76x76cm


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Voyagers of Wonders  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x122cm


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Distinctive Odds  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x122cm


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Envious Escape  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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Inexorable Entity  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x122cm


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Quest With Merits  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x122cm


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Persistence of Hope  Acrylic on Canvas,,152x152cm


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Explorers of Wonders  Acrylic on Canvas,,150x100cm


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Surrendering Hopes of Liberty  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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Contradiction  Acrylic on Canvas,,100x100cm


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Liberation With Hopes  Acrylic on Canvas,,183x92cm


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A Wish To Hold  Acrylic on Canvas,,150x100cm


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Wonders & Astonishment  Acrylic on Canvas,,122x92cm


LOVE & HOPE COPLU first published 2010 by Ode To Art Contemporary

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Š ode to art contemporary 2010 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. book design

Interactive Armada

photography Gulhan Gulsun

measurements of artworks are given in centimeters printed and bound in singapore isbn

978-981-08-8010-1

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COPLU LOVE & HOPES ISBN 978-981-08-8010-1

9 789810 880101 www.odetoart.com


Love & Hope