Keeping a ceramic tradition of thousands of years alive, the first great meeting of the contemporary ceramic art in our country, the International Ceramics Biennial is held in Bursa between 20th October 2022 - 5th January 2023. Organized by Turkish Ceramics Federation under the main sponsorship of Durma Sanat, the exhibitions of the biennial drawn great attention.
MUTLU BASKAYA - FATMA BATUKAN BELGE - ILHAN MARASALI
Ceramic art has a history in Anatolia that's reaching back to 8 thousand years ago, so with such deep roots it has already deserved a biennial in Turkey. As the art wing of the Turkish Ceramics Association, we were dreaming of it for so long but couldn't fulfill the required conditions. IT was not possible for an association with no significant income to bring such an event into life without any sponsorship. By favor of our ceramic artist mate Huri Aykut Ulker who will then undertake the Project Coordinatorship of the Biennial, we came across with Durma Sanat. Coming up with Durma Sanat willing to support ceramics, made it possible to bring the International Ceramics Biennial into life.
Bursa as the birth place of the International Ceramics Biennial and its' first edition being actualized in this city, is not a coincidence. A valuable type of ceramic along with Chinaware, Italian majolicas and European porcelains, the legendary Ottoman tiles have been manufactured in Iznik-Bursa. With areas of UNESCO World Heritage and historical structures, Bursa is one of the last stops and important centers of the Silkroad where cultural transfer has also been made along with trade for centuries. And we again saw in the forthcoming days that we took such a right decision to bring this Biennial into life in Bursa. Art lovers coming to Bursa from the nearby cities both for the people of Bursa and for the Biennial, showed great attention to the exhibitions. The city's ambition for the revival of cultural life and those who voluntarily work for this, is the thing that made this attention great.
When we headed for the International Ceramics Biennial, the pandemic was still going on; being unable to foresee how it would progress and economical difficulties slowed us down a bit. But all stakeholders and volunteers were so bound at heart that we all were able to step up and complete all the works especially by the last period. It's not easy to establish coordination and communication between stakeholders in events with many of them. Our Project Coordinator Huri Aykut Ulker put great efforts to ensure this communication and tried to reach everything. All our ceramicist friends, volunteers and supporters also took on the responsibility.
As curators we defined the main theme of the Biennial as "Zeitgeist: Blue". If you ask why; because color is an important manner of communication today and a way of expressing thoughts and emotions. Influence of colors are considered not only in art but in all areas of life. The global color authority Pantone Color Institute created a new tone not included in the database for 2022: This blue coming out with peace emphasizes and encourages personal creativity, and the red inside it adds excitement and dynamism. Whole world went through a transformational period with the impact of the pandemic; concepts and life standards changed; physical and digital life nested together. This blue that fits our era's zeitgeist where artificial intelligence and digital transformation put their remark, became the starting point also for us. We thought that there could be wonderful ideas and genuine works rising with this red-purple based blue and our ceramic artists' creativity coming together. Blue is the most used color in the world of ceramics with a special place and we wanted to see its' reflections in contemporary ceramic art. As the German thinker Robert Havemann said 'the greatest source of human energy is hope'. When we look at life with a lively, cheerful manner and with optimism and hope we may fill with energy. Going through difficult times should not put us in desperation. We have a huge support for social healing: Art and creativity. So we believed that our contemporary ceramic artists would carry us to hope with the color of 2022, blue.
As the Turkish Ceramics Association we have observed the association membership requirement for our artists who would participate in all our artistic events up until now. This remained same for the Biennial; all invited artists were TCA members.
Seven different exhibitions spread over the city
Easier said than done, we organized 7 different exhibitions. And of course, the opening ceremonies spread over three days. Korean artists Kim Yong Moon's and Kim Hyekyoung’s performance titled the “Blessing” created the most colorful scenes of the opening and viewed with a great attention. Although they didn't take place in the opening physically, the support of the International Academy of Ceramics President Torbjørn Kvasbø and the International Association of Plastic Arts President Bedri Baykam with their video messages, was so valuable for us. Great efforts put in to prepare these exhibitions and in order for a wider audience to see them, we decided to prolong it until 5th January 2023 while it was meant to continue until 20th October 2022. All viewed with interest, below are the Biennial exhibitions:
“Zeitgeist: Blue”: About hundred ceramic artists' works within the scope of this theme, are exhibited in the BAOB campus hall of the Chamber of Architects.
“Macsabal Sculptures Collection”: Hacettepe University's collection is displayed in the garden of Tofas Museum of Cars and Anatolian Carriages.
“On the Trail of Time”: This valuable collection of Turkish Ceramics Association composed of the works of artists of all the generations Contemporary Turkish ceramics, are exhibited in Hilton Hotel's foyer.
“Macsabal Sculptures”: Small sized Macsabal sculptures are exhibited in Hilton Hotel's foyer.
“Beril Anilanmert- Kim Yong Moon exhibition”: A selection from the honored artists' works are exhibited in the Akeramos Art Gallery.
“Dreams and Cars”: CEK Art Center hosted the ceramic exhibition comprised of the works of young artist candidates. Works of the students from the ceramic departments of Bursa Uludag, Bilecik Seyh Edebali, Hacettepe and Mugla Sitki Kocman universities are viewed in this exhibition.
“From Me To You”: Sibel Sevim's jewelry and ceramic exhibition took place in the Uluumay Ottoman Folkloric Costumes and Jewelry Museum.
Speeches on ceramics and workshops
Art lovers also got the chance to watch various speeches within the context of contemporary ceramics and ceramic culture. In the "Ceramics Education in Universities" panel under the moderatorship of Aysun Colbayir, Prof. Beril Anilanmert, Prof. Candan Dizdar Terwiel, Prof. Sevim Cizer and Turgut Tuna spoke. In addition, Turgut Tuna with his speech on “From Tiles to Porcelain”, Figen Ozden with her speech “A Life Dedicated to Tile Turgut Tuna”, Aysegul Turedi Ozen with her speech “My Ceramics”, Emre Zeytinoglu with his speech “Contemporary Art and Ceramics”, Emre Can with his speech “Use of 3 Dimensional Printers in Ceramic Production and Artistic Suggestions”, Fatma Batukan Belge with her speech “Ottoman, Far East and European Interactions Around Blue and White Ceramics”, Canan Temizelli with her speech “Development of Contemporary Ceramic Art in Bursa”, Tulin Ozturk with her speech “Ceramics Education” met with art lovers.
As part of the International Ceramics Biennial, ceramic artists also organized special works in their workshops for those interested in ceramics. These were “Applications on Plates” with Figen Ozden, “Basic Techniques of Ceramic Clay Shaping” with Canan Temizelli, “Cuerda Seca/ Black Line Technique” with Arzu Karayel and “Ceramic Workshops for Kids” with Huri Aykut Ulker.
On the Wing of Hummingbird
You may noticed the hummingbird placed on a blue background on the International Ceramics Biennial poster; it also has a special meaning. being the smallest bird in the world and having a greatly fast pulsing heart, hummingbirds are believed to symbolize infinity and brought fire to the world in some mythologies. Challenging the nature of clay as the main material of ceramics and trying to dominate the technique the hearts of ceramicists also pulse like the heart of a hummingbird during production and firing phases. This hummingbird placed on the Biennial’s poster was bearing the wish for this art to reach infinity with its' wing. So, as we organized the first of it, we will also do our best to keep this International Ceramics Biennial alive by making it more spirited and powerful in time. We owe our thanks to our main sponsor Durma Sanat and particularly Fatma Durmaz Yilbirlik for this support they gave to ceramics. They created an opportunity that made Bursa meet with contemporary art as an important cultural center for centuries. We also feel our gratitude to all of our supporters, volunteers, ceramicist mates who does not refrain their moral and material support. We began to work for 2024; and we expect the same powerful support.