Lecturer of Hacettepe University Fine Arts Faculty Ceramics Department and the award-winning ceramics artist Prof. Dr. Tugrul Emre Feyzoglu believes that ceramics is an endless field. Although he’s experimenting in different areas, he cares about sticking to the principles of ceramics while he’s delivering his works.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. MUTLU BASKAYA
How did you begin interesting on art? Why did you choose Hacettepe University and Ceramics Department?
Like many people involved in art, I was drawing pictures too instead of studying in childhood. I was not showing it at home but I was a very naughty boy in my fantasy world and in school. My teachers were always complaining about me. The most annoying thing for them was me not listening to the lessons but drawing pictures on my own. And I remember that I was drawing strange ‘space’ dreams with no idea why. Maybe I upset my family a bit but my biggest chance was their support and approach to me about this.
As for the high school years I had a period which I may call was very lucky. Our Art History teacher in Cankaya High School was one of the most important art historians of Turkey today, Kiymet Giray. My teacher Kiymet must have seen my interest so one day she brought me Gombrich’s book called “The Story of Art”. We actually had a very rich family library. But I have come across this kind of a book for the first time and those were not the times of a Turkey with lots of publishings like these today. I kept that book for months. Teacher Kiymet has given me some homeworks. Then she sent me to make an interview with Adnan Turani in Doku Art Gallery. I haven’t even heard of this name before until that day… That day Teacher Turani has spared a good time to me and patiently answered my novice and nice questions. At those days I decided that I want to have art education. I didn’t exactly know what to choose. Until I saw the book “Jale Yılmabasar – Ceramics, Methods” in the library… As I was turning the pages of the book, I became aware that this is the field I want to involve in. Because there were a lot of ceramic board photos in the book and when I was a little kid, I was visiting Anafartalar Bazaar or Gulhane Military Medical Academy in Ankara with my mom and watching the colorful boards on the walls and wondering how they’re made. So, I’ve found my answer to my wondering and discovered the field of art I want to involve in. And I chose the Ceramics Department as the only choice when I was entering the exam in Hacettepe. As a matter of fact, I still didn’t have any idea what ceramics is, how it’s made and whether it has a “chemistry”. Happily, I didn’t because if I knew I would be taking ceramics chemistry lessons back then, I would choose another field. At first, I wavered for a while with the excitement of my young age but then I interestingly loved everything about ceramics. Of course, the Hacettepe Ecole and being the student of Hamiye Colakoglu played a big role in this.
What are the contributions of being the student of Prof. Hamiye Colakoglu to your professional life?
Hamiye Colakoglu is an influencer. And it’s a privilege to be her student and then her assistant. We were very afraid of the teacher in the early days of our studentship. I don’t know why. It was like impossible to cross the lines she drew. And it became more complicated for the types whose childhood and youth have passed with mischiefs like me and my friends. We had a great respect and love to out teacher. And she also was revealing the hidden loving side of her personality (for us back in those days). In fact, everyone that get to know the teacher had a great respect for her and was putting great effort and care to fulfil her requests. Observing those courses in our studentship times was very valuable. Sometimes we sat on the benches in front of Teacher Hamiye’s small Head of Department Room and had talks in whisper. And very estimable teachers like Sıtkı Erinc, Kaya Ozsezgin, Bozkurt Guvenc was visiting the teacher in that room to drink their teas and begin the day. Back in past great names like Mustafa Tuncalp and Unal Cimit had also served in our department. Now I’m thinking that how rich we were… Even a single word, gesture, look of them have taught us a lot.
Teacher Hamiye had made the Ceramics Department in Hacettepe from nothing. She had used her and her kith and kin’s limited resources to create this department. She had brought an educational institution with a soul into being among big absences. Besides she had also put effort to create the staff that would establish the department’s future. And she had succeeded to a large extent. If Hacettepe University Fine Arts Faculty Ceramics and Glass Department is standing still as one of the important ceramics education institutions of our country to this day, there’s nowhere to look at to find its’ reason but Hamiye Colakoglu’s lasting impression she left there and principles and ideals she conveyed to us.
PROF. DR. TUGRUL EMRE FEYZOGLU
Born in 1971 in Ankara. Graduated from Hacettepe University Fine Arts Faculty Ceramics Department in 1995. Finished his Master’s Degree in Hacettepe University in 1998 and became a Research Associate. Taking his Proficient Degree in Art in 2004, the artist attended numerous domestic and abroad mixed and competitional exhibitions, symposiums and workshops. He held seven personal exhibitions with one abroad. He worked as the Head of Ceramics Department in Hacettepe University Fine Arts Faculty. The artist is still continuing his works as a lecturer, and among the awards he won in the years 1999-2001-2008, are 60th, 62nd and 69th State Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture Ceramics Competition Achievement Award and the “Artist of the Year” Award in Art Institution Ceramics Branch.
You have also sat on Hamiye Colakoglu’s seat as a Head of Department in Hacettepe University, could please tell us more about your department?
In fact, we need to approach this question a bit from general to the specific. It all enriches the qualities of our department more, being a part of Hacettepe University at first and of University’s Fine Arts Faculty at second. Because both our university and our faculty are very estimable institutions of our country that have a high presence both in social and in cultural areas. As Ceramics Department, we’re very proud of being a part of the presence of both our university and our faculty and we largely endeavor to realize what this part is required to. I think it’s a great success for a Faculty and Department of nearly 40 years, which to say young in fact, to make events influencing the cultural life of the country and raise countless of art and culture people from its’ constitution. Right now, our department is one of the preeminent ceramics education institutions of Turkey. Besides being in the center of Anatolia it’s also an utmost preference in postgraduate area for the its’ breakthroughs in recent years and the quality of its’ technical substructure and teaching staff. As I mentioned before its founder, our late teacher Hamiye Colakoglu had made this department out of nothing and it once was known for its’ limited resources but yet again there have been many artists and academicians raised out of these difficulties known by their names and works.
As a result of the university projects developed and studies made in the last twenty years, our department has achieved a brand-new identity in its’ new place. Both with the studies made on firing techniques field, workshop equipment and works and University practices and international events made, studies and progressions made in theoretical area, our department became a high-level ceramics education institution. The “Kiln Pool” founded under our department today, is one of these studies and breakthroughs. With the Wood and Salt Firing Kilns made together with Fred Olsen, Kim Yong Moon’s three chambers Macsabal kiln, the Smokeless Anagama kiln and Lustre kiln made together with Masakazu Kusakabe, the pit kiln made by Ilhan Marasali and lastly the Soda kiln builded with my, Kaan Canduran and Soner Pilge’s attempts, an unmatched environment is created which is to say. Of course, we need to credit the Raku works of Mutlu Baskaya who’s one of the pioneers of these efforts, International Hacettepe Macsabal Wood Firing Symposium that has been successfully continuing for ten years and all our other teachers who have delivered their great services to the department as directors and educators. In addition to all these, there have been significant developments made in electrical kiln equipment with our university’s great support and it’s ensured for a firing system to be installed which’s perfect to say so. I believe we’re in great advancement with our cirriculum developed also theoretically and growing teaching staff.
What’s the most distinct difference for you, between the students of your time and the students today?
Every era creates its’ own type of person and student. We all carry the effects of the periods and times we live. While we’re talking about the lacknesses of studentship times, those before us are telling how they’ve overcome and pulled off the times with almost no opportunities. Students today of course are very lucky by means of this. There are many educational institutions and various opportunities. Erasmus programme offers a very significant experience and education occasion.
Golden City Series
Today artist-to-be youth are informed about international events and can attend them. Events like the International Hacettepe Macsabal Wood Firing Symposium we organize, International Terra-Cota Symposium organized Eskisehir Tepebasi Municipality under the coordinatorship of Bilgehan Uzuner, Ceramic Firing Techniques Workshop of Odunpazari Municipality, International Avanos Applied Ceramics Symposium started and organized for 4 years by us, as Hacettepe and assigned to other educational institutions later on and international ceramics symposiums organized by Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir with Sevim Cizer’s led, are great occasions for students. There are many more nationally and internationally qualified events apart from these. As a matter of fact, Turkish Universities are in significant attempts in recent years. These events are motivating and encouraging our students whole lot more. For me, the biggest difference between the students of our time and the students today, is that they have the opportunities that encourage them and prepare them to life with high knowledge. Students who become aware of put these opportunities in good use, both in their own education institutions and in other areas of events, can find more chances to show and promote themselves and advance on art field.
What’s your concern while you’re creating your works, creating “work of ceramics” or “work of art”?
This question which seems very understandable and simple with a very clear answer for many people engaged in various branches of art, is in fact a very complicated and hard to get to an answer -to say so – for me and many of my colleagues. Tu sum it up for me; I aim to put forth a work with a work-of-art quality. But my work must be completed sticking to the principles of ceramics, dried according to that, had the initial firing according to that, glazed and fired again according to that… Maybe it should enter the kiln over and over… It should have oxidation firing or been fired with different techniques under reduction environments when necessary. Meaning that the work I’ll be putting forth must be a “work of ceramics art”. I adhere ceramics art that much. This doesn’t mean I’ll use a different material or technique or deny different fields. If necessary, I’ll try experiments and make researches in different fields. I even have future plans for this. But if there’s classification I put myself in “ceramics artist” class and become happy creating works in this field.
What do you want to tell the most in your works? Would you tell us about the themes and technique you use often?
I mostly try to make personifications in my works. I go for grabbing different forms of expressions , sometimes with figurative approaches and sometimes with spatial emphasizing. On the second half of the 90s and on 2000s, I made works composed of personifications with inspirations from Cappadocia nature. Then I turned back to more figurative forms and tried to discuss on the situations of human and its’ ego questionings in the series titled “Herewithins” and “Completely I’less”. I tried to establish a more like ceramics-painting relationship and endeavor to tell humans with portraits in the series titled “The Essence” and “The People of The Golden City”. In the last serie, I attributed the places we live in, the doors, windows, rooms, the secret areas of life and correlated the private living spaces of all of ourselves with the cities made up of gold. Especially in this serie I tried to portray the “golden cities” and the “golden people” with different lustre techniques.
The Golden People of the City
You recently organized the “All Together” exhibition as a social responsibility project. Could you tell a bit about this exhibition?
“All Together” exhibition is a project that came up in the process followed by a young student girl ending her own life as a result of the financial problems she had. As a matter of fact, I’ve previously organized these kinds of projects of establishing a union of forces. As ceramics artists, we are a community that can understand each other and bond each other with strong ties. You probably can’t see this manner in many other art branches. I have faith that this manner, this togetherness can accomplish great things. At least I know that we can realize the saying ‘there is safety in numbers.’
Our first project was the “Give A Voice To Earth” exhibition that took place in D’Art Gallery in Istanbul. Considering the physical conditions of the gallery I invited forty five artists to this exhibition. For our second exhibition, we organized a “Pottery” exhibition in Ankara Orange Blossom Residence Art Gallery in 2018, composed of the works of 30 Turkish and 30 Korean artists, hence the 60th year anniversary of Turkish-Korean friendship and we presented the revenue from this exhibition as grant to our students who need support in their education.
And lastly for what you mention in your question, in the “All Together” exhibition, with the support of my retiree Professor Teacher Aysegul Turedi Ozen, we tried to reach to institutions of our countries such as the ceramics departments, glass departments of all universities and vocational high schools and organized an exhibition where we can give support to students in these departments who are in urgent needy situations. 240 artist academicians form nearly 40 educational institutions have attended and sixteen honored guests have been invited to this exhibition. There were also connoisseur artists among our honored guests such as Unbal Cimit, Sadi Diren, Hamiye Colakoglu, Yuksek Boz Ocal, Aysegul Turedi Ozen, Erdinc Bakla, Tuzum Kızılcan, Saime Celik Kursunoglu, Beril Anılanmert, Gungor Guner, Naile Cimit, Sevim Cizer, Tulin Ayta, Zehra Cobanli, Mustafa Tuncalp, Ferhan Taylan Erder. The 25 x 25 cm tile shaped wall works of the attending artists, were presented for sale with a determined symbolical amount and by making sales among our expectations we got the chance to offer 6 months ‘food grant’ to our 80 students across Turkey. A group of our students had a great contribution in making this exhibition and succeeding it. And this was the most important cause which made us happy the most.
We know your interest in music. Is there a future project that brings music and ceramics together?
Music is an essential part of my life. Music has to start as soon as I enter the workshop. I spent the times I spare for myself in my private life, listening to the records have been collecting since my childhood. I mainly listen to the music of 60s, 70s and 80s which can be classified as Rock, Progressive and Classics. And I also like to follow the life stories of musicians and how they put together and continue with their band. On the other hand, I listen to the great names who constituted the basic milestones of Turkish music. In the past I’ve associated some of my works on ceramics with the music I listened to and I had inspirations sometimes from some song lyrics and sometimes from the stories of artists. For the future I want to continue these projects. I’m thinking of presenting some musical works, albums influencing me and touching my heart and inspirations from artist stories in my new works too. One of my projects is obtaining different sound waves with kinetic works and making the audience to make music with my works they watch… Time will show.
Could you tell us about your future projects?
First, I will continue my mission in Hacettepe and would like to ensure our Kiln Pool’s development. In addition to this, I have goals like continuing the mixed exhibitions we take at hand as part of social projects, gaining social benefit and advancing on practices that can be done in this field. Ceramics is an endless field. I believe that there’s a lot to learn and do. As an educationist and academician, there’s a lot to do and achieve together with my students and colleagues. My greatest goal is to develop my fund of knowledge and experience and share them with my students and leave lasting works to Turkish ceramics art, along the path led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.