lives and works in Germany
Ali Zülfikar was born in 1971 in Milelis in Turkey and studied art at Firat University under Professor Memduh Kuzay. His success began early; his work was first curated in 1993, featured in over 170 international exhibitions and museums. We are delighted to display Ali Zülfikar’s masterly portrait drawings in our gallery. On canvas or handmade paper, Zülfikar never reworks or retouches his drawings, a distinguishing feature of his approach.
It is the highest goal of a portraitist to understand and make visible the soul and life of a person, and this is something that Zülfikar achieves in a unique way. By looking beyond a picture of an old person, he unfurls such an emotional intensity that comprehends the wisdom and dignity of lived experience, and brings a novel and positive serenity to the topic of old age.
As a master of his craft, he develops detailed structures in his drawings that create a strong presence when perceived from a distance. However, up close there is a tension between spatial depth and proportion, which generates the effect of relief by using layers and ruptures in the flow of the lines.
Most of those portrayed arouse the sympathy of the observer. Either it is the wakeful eyes that attract or a tension in the features that signals living energy. In the case of “Oh No!” both apply. The faces of the women have often something warming, motherly, patient, although it is difficult to say what it is exactly that elicits this perception. But one finds oneself stopping to also admire, “Genuß/Pleasure”, which is the portrait of an engaging, smiling woman with surprisingly soft features.
The outstanding feature of Picasso’s wonderful head is clearly the striking physiognomy in which his determination is reflected. A vigorous curiosity speaks from his large eyes. Less trustworthy contemporaries also provoke fascination such as “Curse of the Caribbean”. Seen in profile, the old unshaven man has his mouth open. Must one fear him or is this an unkempt person who deserves compassion?
It is Ali Zülfikar’s achievement that his pictures evoke such questions. His portraits pull the observer into the stories that they tell – through their eyes, their facial expressions, their tense features. He is without doubt a great draughtsman whose understanding for the unmistakeable lifelines of people is undeniable.
Ali Zülfikar brings his oversized portraits up close to the observer and shows them in an unusually intense light: each furrow or scar, each hair, ever so fine, is captured in the drawings. By presenting his portraits in oversize dimensions, and also strongly modulated, he creates a monument of human feeling and a lived life.
Dr. Stephanie Eckhardt | Cologne, 06/06/2016
Ali Zulfikar has won many international awards and his work is exhibited by many institutions.