Untitled, oil on mixed media on handmade paper, signed lower right, framed, 151 x 50.3cm (59 7/16 x 19 13/16in).
Provenance: Private Swedish collection; acquired from the Stockholm Art Fair, Galeri Nev, 1989.
Published: Dostoglu, Haldun and Beral Madra, Erol Akyavas: His Life and Works, Istanbul, 2000, p.157, plate 2 (the image shows both lot 20 and 21 exhibited side by side at the Stockhom Art Fair).
One of the main themes of Akyavas' work is Islamic calligraphy, which he uses less for the meaning of the words of letters though he is also interested in ancient Islamic theories on the latent meanings of individual letters than for the aesthetic qualities of their shape and their inherent elegance. In this way he harks back to earlier traditions of calligraphic composition in which a verse from the Qur'an, an invocation to God, or a proverb, in thuluth or muhaqqaq script, simultaneously possesses its verbal meaning and religious significance alongside the beauty of the letters themselves and the juxtaposition of light lettering against a dark background or vice versa. Here, in the present lot, the script is mostly more cursive and overall the work almost resembles a collection of graffiti, or the marginalia on an Arabic document.