The Aesthetical Beauty Of Lolita Asil’s Depiction Of Anatomy In Art

In a manner used in metaphorical and physical meaning, the body, in the end, is not only the object of anatomy, but also an object for exhibition. Within the last few years, we have witnessed many examples of the body being used for provocative purposes and in an exhibitionist context, particularly in the field of plastic arts. During the previous Istanbul Biennals we encountered erotic/pornographic works defined under the title of “carnal art”. I must say that Lolita Asil’s interest in the body is based on different concerns and sources. As can be noticed at first glance in these anatomic drawings, the scalpel-eye does not see the genital organs even once. Forget seeing such: there are no references to male and female in these canvases. Perhaps some brush strokes remind the audience of a moustache effect in one or two drawings; however, such an implication does not have the value of a mark to represent the canvas. It has no semantic function in defining the content.

For this very reason, it can be said that these paintings reflect a de-genderizing consciousness. I choose the words without any reference to Deleuze: I am of the view that Asil’s bodies can be said to be bodies without organs. No matter what the eye receives help from, either from the scalpel or from a microscope, in the end, the real purpose is always researching nerves, muscles, and cells. The body described and drawn by Lolita Asil is not an object of desire, but, rather, an object of research and knowledge. Whether she draws a magnified spine or an arm or leg or vein section, what Lolita Asil intends to show or reveal, is, in fact, hidden in the end. I will quote a part from my text on Lolita’s previous exhibition titled “Sır” [“Secret“]:

“Although the contingent dream or meaning in the paintings by Asil seems to be in conflict with her presuppositions or scientific concerns, they are in relation with the affectional. The painter prefers to realize her abstract form and content within the framework of scientific theories rather than from plastic/aesthetic approaches such as expressionism or color field. Concerning her background, we know that Asil is involved in physiology and histology and participated in autopsy studies in the university department of medicine. Asil is interested in the secret of being and existence in a scientific context, rather than a philosophical one. Concerning this very point, it can be claimed that the tension of being between eye and microscope, feeling and tissue and cell, cosmic and biological, body and soul provides an affectional dimension to the canvas. Lolita Asil takes a universal desire or imagination as the basis. To be sure, looking at something under a microscope causes a mutation while transmitting the image it sees. It is both the one there, belongs on the one there, and is an image specific to canvas space. It is an imaginary object.” (See: A. Oktay: “Göz ile Mikroskop, Teknik ile Duygulanım Arasinda” [Between Eye and Microscope, Technology and Affection], in Kahramanın Ölümü, p.p. 156-163, Alkım Yay, 2005).

In that text, I stated that “anatomy and imagination is in tension with each other” in Lolita Asil. It can be said that in her recent works, anatomy (autopsy) becomes clearer, skull, ribs, bones, in short, the skeleton is shown prominently. But, it should be noted that death is not mentioned. There is no implicit implication here. The only thing that is signified is the skeleton. This content necessarily forces the audience to think about the function of aesthetics. It should be said that Lolita Sil seems to suggest standing apart from aesthetics, at least in these works. Presented material suggests a different or other aesthetic. This aesthetic no more allows thinking in traditional terms. To be honest, a skeleton, rib, or spine drawn from the back cannot be said to bear an aesthetical value. We are at a point where shadow and light are almost left behind, what is pleasing is not foreseen. Lolita Asil does not make concessions, does not bother about the audience, the ossified taste of the painting’s audience. She expects the audience to change their perspective. This is a conscious choice and therefore, a brave one.

Ahmet Oktay, 2009  

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