Melike Abasiyanik Kurtic, one of the important artists of contemporary Turkish ceramics, passed away at the age of 90, on August 26. She was known for her organic forms, such as the living, sea urchin.
Melike Abasiyanik Kurtic, who studied at the Decorative Arts (Textile) Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul between 1952-55, started her ceramic works at the Eczacibasi Ceramic Factory between 1960-62. Between 1963-66, she worked at the Royal Danish Porcelain Factory (Royal Copenhagen) in Copenhagen and at the Ceramics Department of the Copenhagen Academy of Fine Arts. Se worked at MTA Institute in Ankara between 1968-72.
Working on spherical forms since the 1960s, the artist's early works bear the traces of prehistoric Anatolian civilizations. According to Zeynep Rona and Jale Erzen, “In these large-scale, wide-mouthed vessels, mobility is provided by the fluidity of the surface and the variability of the line”. Towards the middle of the 60's, she turned towards the search for closed spherical forms and opened cracks and fissures on the surface. In the 70s, these cracks and fissures grew and opened, and the spherical form was almost cut into slices. Working with high-fired non-porous hard ceramics, Kurtic's free forms gradually gained a sculptural quality.” She did not only make sea urchins in ceramics, but also used them in her photographic drawings.
The artist received the First Prize in the tombstones category in the Ministry of National Defense State Cemetery National Project Competition in 1982, and the Friendship and Peace Award in the ceramics category at the 1st International Asia-Europe Art Biennial in 1986.
After Melike Abasiyanik Kurtic's death, ceramic artist Candeğer Furtun expressed her sadness by saying “I lost my dear friend and colleague for 60 years” and said, “Melike is not only a ceramic artist, she was able to reflect her perceptions and feelings very competently in every branch she dealt with as a real artist”.
“I FIRST GET TO KNOW MELIKE'S WORK, TEHN HERSELF!”
The owner of Macka Art Gallery Rabia Capa's and Melike Abasiyanik Kurtic's paths was crossed in Copenhagen in 1968 and beyond a gallerist-artist relationship, a great friendship has been established. Rabia Capa wrote the story of this lifelong friendship.
The year was 1968, I was in Denmark, we were touring the Copenhagen Royal Porcelain Museum with the friends in our embassy. Suddenly my eyes got caught by the big, plain, beige and brown work standing in the display window across the hall, I was drawn to it...
I walked towards it, it was beautiful, I wanted to look at the tag below and learn its' name. I read it once... Than read it again with excitement and forgetting that we're in a museum I called out “Hey guys! The artist of this work is a Turk, her name is Melike Abasiyanik Kurtic, you know her?" Our ambassador replied; "We do, she is probably in her workshop now but her husband Necati Kurtic is here with us." I went to Necati Kurtic and said him "Please I want to know this artist, could you please take me to her?" With the same excitement I went to Melike...
And again with excitement I hugged her, we talked and liked each other, got along well. Years past without losing even a bit of these beautiful feelings. When we opened Macka Art Gallery with my brother Varlık in 1976, this time we had the excitement of exhibition preparations, openings and dinner parties of Melike.
While she was doing all these her Neco (her husband Necati Kurtic) was always with her.
You will find the same excitement also in Melike's work! She loves nature, walks, researches for hours and goes all lengths in her researches, photographs them when she catches, carries them onto pattern, print, plexy or canvas.
Melike Abasiyanik Kurtic is a great artist who never forgets where she stands with and continually adapts herself to new things.
Now in my mind and heart I have the thought of making a Melike Abasiyanik Kurtic retrospective exhibition in a big place and taking you to the moment I first saw Melike, to the display window on the big wall of Royal Porcelain Museum... The beginning of the life-long meeting where the beige and brown work is calling me...