Placing yourself in front of a painting by Volkan Diyaroglu is a bold undertaking. The actual decision to look at his work, and to adopt a stance toward it, is in itself a chimera. One might perhaps describe any attempt to go to meet it as an illusory rapprochement. Or even, when the gaze puts up a resistance, we could speak of how the fabulous monster—lion’s head, goat’s body and dragon’s tail—overpowers the spectator. Volkan Diyaroglu’s works demand a willingness that could snap on the first viewing if one does not truly look, because the artist exacts a committed gaze, one that does nothing if not challenge the eye and all the places it leads to. After all, here, seeing goes much beyond a simple opening and shutting of the eyes and entails an exploration into the depths of the gaze.
José Luis Clemente, 2020