Varlık, Yokluk, Hiçlik ve Sanat Nedir

What Are Existence, Non-Existence, Nothingness And Art?

Mustafa Günen (English)

The questions in the title are the subjects of the art manifesto I am writing. So, why am I questioning and writing these?

I have been painting for fifty years, except for the graphic novels I made in my childhood. I am known as a marine painter in the world literature. However, I have had a great interest and passion for abstract painting since my twenties. It was the end of the nineties. Late Mr. Kaya Özsezgin and late Sezer Tansuğ, my teacher (may rest in prace), and collector Mr. Nevzat Boztaş, came to visit me. I told them about my passion for abstract painting. I showed Mr. Kaya Özsezgin his art articles published in Milliyet Sanat magazine, which I had cut and kept. He was very pleased and told me that abstract painting is a very serious field, a long maturation process, and gave me some advice. Indeed, abstract painting requires proficiency in areas such as psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, and especially in philosophy and science. And I have been reading numerous magazines and books on these topics since the early 70s. I especially read the “Science and Technology” magazine published by TUBITAK and every issue of magazines such as “Milliyet Sanat (Art)” with curiosity and pleasure. I still read and watch various scientific books and publications intensely. As a fruit of these readings, besides painting, I have been writing articles on art and social issues for years. Therefore, I decided it was time to convey my observations and ideas in the style of abstract painting. I will do this in the same way that previous doyen artists did.

As it is known, great masters such as Picasso, Kandinsky, Modrian, and Klee, influenced and benefited from the science and philosophy that developed in their period, formed a thought, an interpretation of existence. While carrying out these, they shared their achieved evaluations in the form of books, some in the form of articles in magazines and newspapers, and opened them to discussion. In short, they accounted for to art. Therefore, in order to follow the same true path, I will first give the explanations of my thoughts about existence, and what I do and why I do in the form of manifesto titles and explain these headings in detail.

These titles are open to discussion. Anyone who is interested and curious can criticize my opinions giving their reasons. Let me give a few short examples of these titles.

Existence is in the field of interest of both science and philosophy. Non-existence is a bit more in the domain of philosophy. There are two types of perception of non-existent: the first is that “non-existent” is the ‘no longer existence’ of an experienced existence.. The condition of non-existence ‘existing before, but no longer existing now’ is related to existence itself. So, it is obliged to existence. The second is the non-existence that we call nothingness, that is, the state in which nothing can exist or does not exist. However, the explanation of non-existence in the definition of nothingness is not very satisfactory as it refers to the concept of existence. That is why I have defined the nothingness state as “unexperiencible non-presence.” The word unexperiencible in this expression means the absence of any being (subject) to be experienced. The concept of nothingness, especially in philosophy, is a ‘brain-burning’ issue as expressed in folk speech. It is also very interesting. I have also scrutinized a lot. Briefly, I defined the nothingness as follows; nothingness, in fact, if anyone evaluates nothingness, the nothingness meant has now lost its nothingness, that nothingness cannot be mentioned …

I constantly receive information from academicians I can reach for my scientific questions about existence. The answers to some of my questions are not in the scientific literature; they stand closer to philosophical explanations rather than scientific answers. For example, I first asked academicians, especially physics scientists, the following question:

Question 1- How does an observer who has existed being bound by other laws outside of our universe and is capable see the process in our universe? So how does he perceive time and motion?

My conclusion regarding this question: an observer outside the universe does not perceive motion and time as we perceive it, according to the laws of relativity to which our universe is subject. So it probably perceives it as dull. If he can see motion and time anyway, he must be included in the law of relativity. In this case, it is possible for us to detect him somehow. Let me not skip that if this observer has a device like a decoder that is sensitive to relativity theory, then it can detect motion and time in our universe. However, there are also questions here. This observer will not perceive neither movement nor time as we perceive it. As the name implies, the laws of relativity are evaluated differently according to different references. For example, if the decoder of this observer is not tuned to the references of our world among the trillions of stars, he will neither perceive nor see time nor movement as we do. So, is the job done when it is set to the world references? No, it is not done!

There are very interesting results in the scientific explanations of existence. I will examine and share all these and similar issues in Mustafa Günen’s art manifesto. I hope you enjoy it very much.

(Translated from Turkish by Semih AYDIN)


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