Renin Bilginer, b.1993 is an emerging contemporary artist from London, with dual British and Turkish heritage. Since graduating from the University of Brighton in 2019, Renin has worked from her studio in North London and has recently accepted a place to study MA painting at the Royal College of Art.
Renin’s recent achievements include showing work at the Hove Museum and Art Gallery, The Truman Brewery and having been selected for the Hasting Art Forum ‘Rising Talent’ exhibition in 2019. In 2020, Renin’s work was selected as part of the Zabludowicz Collection exhibition, ‘Women’s Lockdown Art’. She is currently developing a new body of work, as well as working on a collaborative curation project with Artist Hive Studios.
Materialising as narrative tapestry-painting, Renin Bilginer’s practice interrogates how her cultural upbringing influences her life experiences and what it means to exist as a woman between Eastern and Western cultures. The work explores her dual British and Turkish heritage, depicting themes of culture, tradition, class, memory, relationships with people and a human affinity with nature. Bilginer’s work reveals multiple identities with feminist tendencies. Her recent work has been heavily influenced by notions of nostalgia and escapism born from a desire to return to life before the pandemic, revealing an interesting relationship between confinement of the mind and body.
Influenced by Eastern miniature painting, Turkish Kilim rugs and European Medieval / Renaissance tapestry, Bilginer’s colourful and theatrical compositions mythologise her experiences. Borrowing from the historical usage of symbolism and iconography, the work is inlaid with historically symbolic references and personal iconography. Referencing the cross-cultural archaic symbol of the dog as humanity’s guide from life to death, Bilginer’s humanoid Kangal dog figures are reflections of herself - powerful but loyal, wild yet domesticated - alluding to her deep psychological relationship with the natural world and capacity to rebel.
Bilginer plays with the separation and bringing together of imagery, using mixed media to achieve a multitude of painterly shifts. The relationship between figures, objects and scenery is explored through the correlation or juxtaposition of vibrant colours, mark-making and pattern, resulting in a surreal composition, overlaid with ethereal washes. By echoing the illustrative style and visual language of miniature painting and tapestry, the work immerses the viewer into the narrative. Focusing on the traditional relationship between contemporary art and craft, these tapestry-paintings intend to challenge the functionality of art and how painting can be explored in an expanded field.