Art style

A magical journey through the history of Turkish art

Bozlu Art Project’s latest exhibition showcases artists from the Ottoman Empire, from the earliest days of the Turkish Republic to our present time, over three floors of perfectly arranged inspiring works.

Bozlu Art Project is hosting a new exhibition titled “Laterna Magica: The Dr Sukru Bozluolcay Collection”. The exhibition takes place in the Sisli district of Istanbul, in the famous Mongeri building, an example of the early Republican architecture of Turkiye, built in the mid-1920s by the Italian architect Giulio Mongeri.

The exhibition covers the years of the early works of the Ottoman Empire from Western-style paintings to contemporary art of the Republic of Turkiye, and is sure to give the viewer a wide understanding. Curator Dr Ozlem Inay Erten says she would be very happy if young people and students visited the exhibition which she says connects generations of painters and artists quite well.

The exhibition is organized in chronological order, with the oldest works on the ground floor. Upstairs visitors can admire modern artists, while downstairs in the basement are contemporary artists.

Hoca Ali Riza, Boats and Sailboat on the Shore, oil on canvas, 32x65cm (signed A. RIZA 329). (Courtesy of Bozlu Art Project)

Collected for almost 40 years by Dr Sukru Bozluolcay, the exhibition presents classic, modern and contemporary works, says curator Dr Ozlem Inay Erten TRT World.

Bozluolcay, 64, started collecting works of art in the 1980s. A businessman named “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2012, his collection on display at the exhibition covers a wide range of artists, from start with the generation of military painters (in the last days of the Ottoman Empire), to the 1914 generation (the Calli generation). Then there are the “Indépendants” (Mustakiller) and “d Groupe” (d Grubu), the press release notes, until the emergence of the “École de Paris” in the 1950s and 1960s, “Generation 1968”, and contemporary artists from around the world and beyond.

“By preparing an exhibition from a personal collection, we could have taken several different paths,” explains Inay Erten. “We could have organized the works thematically, according to subjects, or we could have combined them under a concept. We have decided to display the integrity of the collection as a whole; we wanted to offer a perspective of the [Western-style] The history of Turkish art in chronological order to viewers whether or not they are familiar with Turkish art. “

The first floor is dedicated to the oldest examples of Western-style Turkish art, with military painters painting on canvases; like Halil Pasha, Suleyman Seyyid, Hoca Ali Riza. “After military upheavals, the Ottoman Empire focused on overhauling the army. The military schools program began offering courses in technical drawing. Students who showed an interest in painting, who were talented, were sent abroad for artistic training, and upon their return they began to teach in the schools from which they had graduated. This is how we got our first painters, ”explains Inay Erten.

Nazmi Ziya Guran, Fatih Mosque seen from Suleymaniye, oil on cardboard, 47 x 60 cm.

Nazmi Ziya Guran, Fatih Mosque seen from Suleymaniye, oil on cardboard, 47 x 60 cm. (Courtesy of Bozlu Art Project)

When you visit the exhibit, says Inay Erten, you’ll see how the themes and materials change over the years. “For example, military painters mainly focused on still lifes and paintings of nature,” she notes. “There aren’t many figures, with a few exceptions like Halil Pasha, who received a university education in Paris and is familiar with figure and anatomy.”

Yet the mid-era, where there were no art museums, no gallery audiences, no art buyers, meant artists of the day wouldn’t start with nudes. or human figures but with flowers and other still lifes, and paintings of nature. .

The artists who worked with the human figure are represented in another room on the entrance floor, the “Generation 1914 (Calli Generation)” with painters such as Ibrahim Calli, Hikmet Onat, Nazmi Ziya, Avni Lifij. Women become subjects rather than objects, nudes appear, they begin to work with live models, for example there is a nude of a man by Mehmet Nuri Arel.

“The paintings of nature continue, as seen in the work of Nazmi Ziya,” says Inay Erten, “but this time it’s in an impressionistic way. This generation is important because after studying abroad they taught at the art university (now known as Mimar Sinan University) and published art magazines, wrote about art , organized art exhibitions. “They paved the way for many important works in Turkish art history,” sums up Inay Erten.

Burhan Dogancay (1929-2013), Antiquités, 1965. Oil and mixed media on canvas, 203.2 x 203.2 cm

Burhan Dogancay (1929-2013), Antiques, 1965. Oil and mixed media on canvas, 203.2 x 203.2 cm (Melis Alemdar / TRTWorld)

Upstairs we have modern Turkish artists, says Inay Erten. “Do you know how artistic trends go from generation to generation rebelling against what previous generations have produced? Well, here we have artists from d grubu (Group D), Mustakiller (Les Indépendants), who are rebelling against Impressionism, saying “We have to catch up with European art, and no longer try to take two steps behind”. produced works influenced by Cubism and Constructivism, as well as syntheses of Eastern and Western art.

Nejad Melih Devrim (1923-1995) Untitled, 1964. Oil on canvas, 97x 162 cm.

Nejad Melih Devrim (1923-1995) Untitled, 1964. Oil on canvas, 97x 162 cm. (Melis Alemdar / TRTWorld)

“Turkish art began to produce abstract art in the 1950s, with pioneering artists such as Sabri Berkel, Zeki Faik Izer, then painters from the School of Paris such as Fahrelnissa Zeid, Nejad Melih Devrim [who happens to be Zeid’s son], Selim Turan, a painter who also became a renowned educator Adnan Coker, who happens to be the first artist to have organized an exhibition of abstract painting, Ferruh Basaga “, which are on display on the upper floor.

“On the other hand, we have artists like Cihat Burak and Burhan Dogancay or Omer Uluc and Erol Akyavas who, with their use of materials and perspectives, can be called avant-garde artists.”

(From L to R) Serhat Kiraz, Figures, 2007;  (in the background) Server Demirtas, Horse, 2017;  Altan Gurman, Untitled, 1973 and Soldier, 1976 (2013);  Server Demirtas, Homage to Gurman, 1991.

(From L to R) Serhat Kiraz, Figures, 2007; (in the background) Server Demirtas, Horse, 2017; Altan Gurman, Untitled, 1973 and Soldier, 1976 (2013); Server Demirtas, Homage to Gurman, 1991. (Mehmet Gokdel / Courtesy of Bozlu Art Project)

Inay Erten says underground is Altan Gurman, who produced the first examples of conceptual art in the 1970s in Turkey, with anti-establishment themes pervading his works. She adds that Serhat Kiraz, Altan Gurman, Halil Akdeniz are also pioneers in their field. Traditional painting begins to transform into other materials.

Fucking Edison, Komet (1941).  Neon light installation, 86 x 155 cm.

Fucking Edison, Komet (1941). Neon light installation, 86 x 155 cm. (Melis Alemdar / TRTWorld)

After the 1980s, Turgut Ozal’s policies of globalization and Turkiye’s closer ties with international actors produced wealthy businessmen who began to collect art. They often visited other countries, saw the museums, galleries and other collections there.

Inay Erten says that these developments allowed artists to become more free in the choice of their subjects: “Until the 1950s, art was always supported by the state. After the 1950s, with the Demokrat Party, it turned into personal outings. You can read the history of the Turkish Republic in these works of art.

According to Inay Erten, the exhibition is important because it portrays the history of art in Turkey and provides historical context for important artists of their time. “The private collections presented in the exhibitions will inspire new collections or new exhibitions, or as in the United States, where private collections are combined and turned into museums, perhaps pave the way for new cases like this. “

The book accompanying the exhibition is available from Bozlu Art Project.

The book accompanying the exhibition is available from Bozlu Art Project. (Courtesy of Bozlu Art Project)

There is a book accompanying the exhibition in Turkish and English which can be purchased at the gallery. Written by Ozlem Inay Erten, it discusses the Bozluolcay collection and the pieces selected to be in the exhibition while giving them historical context.

The exhibition “Laterna Magica: The Dr Sukru Bozluolcay Collection” will be open to the public until March 26, 2022. Visiting hours are 10 am to 5.30 pm Tuesday to Saturday. Bozlu Art Project is closed on Sunday and Monday.

Halil Altindere (1971), Portrait of a Dealer, 2010. HD color video, sound, 4'14 ”, refers to the artist Burhan Dogancay whose paint crashes on the head of the dealer Yahsi Baraz.

Halil Altindere (1971), Portrait of a Dealer, 2010. HD color video, sound, 4’14 ”, refers to the artist Burhan Dogancay whose paint crashes on the head of the dealer Yahsi Baraz. (Melis Alemdar / TRTWorld)

VIGNETTE PHOTO: Halil Pasha (1852-1939) Istanbul Trilogy, 1915. Oil on canvas 120 x 100 cm. (TRT World / Melis Alemdar)

TOP PHOTO:

The exhibition “Laterna Magica: The Dr. Sukru Bozluolcay Collection” will be open to the public until March 26, 2022. (Courtesy of Bozlu Art Project / Mehmet Gokdel)

Source: TRT World