When he started to live at night like day during the pandemic, for Prof. Mustafa Agatekin, days have evolved into sleep and nights have evolved into active times. And his accumulation of notes and drawings he took in notebooks during these times turned into the “Night Notes” exhibition. We talked with Agatekin about his exhibition held at the Erdinc Bakla Art Gallery of Dibeklihan Culture and Art Village in Bodrum between 17 July and 5 August.
FATMA BATUKAN BELGE
Night is a time period that differentiates people's feelings and thoughts. The same issues seem different during the day and at night... Is it the same for you?
I can safely say that it is. For myself, I think that the otherness that the night leaves us in is related to the loneliness. In other words, I see these times as an inner cycle and I heal my soul during this time when I am alone.
How does your artistic production process progress from the design to the realization of the work? What role does night play in this process?
In the process of realizing the work from the design, I actually have a serious preparation before the design. During this period of my preparation life, readings, watching, etc. around the subjects that I was interested and curious about. It starts with a search process with acquisitions. The end of this accumulation process usually results in the selection of the subject or scope that I focused on at that time. Then, my process of designing works within the framework of this subject or scope begins. This stage is one of the stages I enjoy the most; because drawings, detailed production drafts, etc. The notebooks in which these pattern and detail drawings have been collected for a very long time give me as much pleasure as the works I have produced, and sometimes notebooks become the preparations for the next journey.
As for the answer to your question, what role does night play in these processes? In fact, I can say that the concept of “Night” emerged in the searches before this project. During the pandemic, when the nights started to feel like daytime, the days turned into sleep and the nights turned into active times, and I created the reflection of the notes and drawings I took in the notebooks during these times under the name of "Night Notes". In this context, “night” was the subject of my last solo exhibition.
You have provided quotations and notes from Halil Gibran to Hasan Ali Toptas for each of your works in the exhibition. In a way, it makes the visiters's job easier. Are they to better emphasize the meaning of the works?
Actually, I didn't want to make the viewer's job easier. Apart from the words I said with glass material in the size of a painting or sculpture, I also wanted to make visible the notes I took on the margins of the drawings in the sketchbooks that inspired all these works. In addition to being able to produce things technically, I also love to write, and I can say that this has an effect on this.
We see that hope is often emphasized in your notes. What are the things that give you hope in this dystopian environment that we live with the effect of the pandemic?
We are in a geography where we live in a climate of despair for a long time, and the pandemic in the last two years has further increased this effect. All sorts of deadlocks, in which not only us, but also humanity struggled. It is not the middle and older generation who are tired under these masses, but I believe that the younger generation will initiate this change, and moreover, I think that the change will happen in a much shorter time, not with the 50-100s as in the past, but with the arguments of this century. That's why I'm hopeful.
You started your art studies with ceramics, but you have been working with glass for almost 20 years. In general, artists like you turn to glass from ceramics, the reverse is not very common. In this exhibition, there are also works where the two materials meet with the in-glass ceramic technique. Which is more priority for you? What makes glass attractive?
The fact that the trend from glass to ceramic is rare actually has historical reasons. In the context of its invention and widespread influence, we know that ceramics developed earlier than glass in the history of civilization. This range has been preserved to the present day. I attribute the rarity of this orientation to the fact that glass is a material and application field that was discovered or introduced later by artists compared to ceramics.
Actually, I do not prioritize that technique in the works where the ceramic-in-glass technique and the two materials meet in the exhibition. After all, I see my works with this technique primarily as a painting surface. Ceramics in these paintings; it exists with its texture, color and disturbing delicacy, while glass is what carries and covers all this fragility and pictorial space, but at the same time preserves it and makes it visible. The common point of the two is that they serve the story of the work.
Since 2002, glass material appeals to me; I continue a journey enriched with expression possibilities such as transparency, depth and optical properties. I don't know what will happen in the next days, more precisely in the course of my life, in the context of the subject at the center of my speech. But I like this curious drift and playing with glass in that context.