Roaming Alexander, mixed media laid down on canvas, signed and dated 1997 lower left, inscribed B. Doğançay 1997 NYC on reverse, 102 x 127cm (40 3/16 x 50in).
Provenance: Private European Corporation; gifted by the artist's family in 1997/8.
From afar this work resembles a large black canvas. On closer inspection, one notices small patches of colour appearing from underneath the sometimes curled out hardened paper, coloured geometric lines demarcating edges, and shades of dripping paint; not only turning it into a striking textured three dimensional piece but a work of highly detailed proportion, cleverly achieved through a mixed media of collage and acrylic.
This work belongs to Doğançay's Alexander's Walls Series. It was while Dogançay was out walking with his wife in New York one afternoon in 1995 on 58th Street near Bloomingdales, that he was immediately drawn to the huge boarded walls of the once jostling Alexander's department store. Over time the boards were subjected to different weather conditions, various posters, stickers and graffiti. Not long after, the walls were plastered in black paper in order to preserve a certain aesthetic code in this particularly affluent part of the city. Soon the paper showed signs of wear; small tears, holes and stains and Doğançay remembered thinking that these small glimpses 'looked like flowers in a splendid garden.'
It is from these numerous visits to the blackened Alexander's walls that Dogançay drew his inspiration for the series. Some believe that the Alexander's paintings represent an ultimate refinement of Doğançay's then thirty years of wall art. In 1995, the President of Turkey honoured him with the first ever National Medal of the Arts for Lifetime Achievement and Cultural Contribution.
Other works from these series are housed in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.
References: Exhibition Catalogue, Whispering Walls, Doğançay: Doors & Walls, New York 1997, pp.88-102. Roy Moyer (ed), Doğançay, New York, 1986.