Serpil Mavi Üstün


"Through painting, I imagine picturesque scenarios that may come true in daily life; walking through the city, looking at a cell phone screen, sipping a coffee, blowing out the candles on a birthday cake or receiving flowers. The quotidian is worthy of being my subject." - Serpil Mavi Üstün

Serpil's experience of a common affliction within our contemporary context, that of loneliness, pushes her to confront personal experiences of fragility, confusion and melancholy. Some of the moments she dwells on are almost melodramatic - her subjects seeming to take pleasure in the exaltation of trauma. Or, at times, approaching incidences of apparent pleasure with an indulgent indifference - in beautiful or happy moments, her subjects seek to sabotage.


The individuals pictured, who seek to unsettle their pastel worlds, reflect the conflicts that we collectively face in daily life. Her works are not a gesture at narrative storytelling, and instead, by focusing a fragment from everyday life, she seeks to reflect the subjects inner-life and that which continuously troubles them.


The paintings reflect on the agony of the individual who has been caught in the trap of existence and unintentionally situated within social systems of power and control. Her subjects are representations of people who fight back and reject their circumstances.


Much is left open to interpretation - in presenting just impressions, fantasies, evocations and fleeting images, she leaves the viewer wondering what led the subject to this moment and what might become of them.


Serpil Mavi Üstün (b.1979) grew up in Canakkale Turkey and is currently based in London. She graduated from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Nes'e Erdok Studio in 2008. She then attended Husnu Koldas's arctic mosaics, fresco and sigrafito workshop for a further two years.


Recent selected group exhibitions include: Fetish, (MAMA, London, 2023), Even a Cat can Look at the Queen, (Mrs Gallery, New York, 2023), Dialogue, (The Artist Room Gallery, London, 2023), Another Round, (Galeri Nev & Kendi Collection, Istanbul, 2022), Contemporary Istanbul (C.A.M Galery, Istanbul, 2022), Recto-Verso, (C.A.M. Gallery, Istanbul, 2021), Let it be, (C.A.M. Gallery, Istanbul, 2021).