Istanbul show highlights Füreya Koral’s life and art
HATİCE UTKAN ÖZDEN
Who is Füreya Koral? How did she become Turkey’s foremost contemporary ceramic artist? The new exhibition, entitled “Füreya,” hopes to address these questions.
The exhibition is presented and sponsored by the Kale Group, which supports the ceramic arts and female artists in Turkey.
Curated by Károly Aliotti, Nilüfer Şaşmazer and Farah Aksoy, the exhibition adopts a new approach to Koral’s life. According to Aliotti, Turkish people know Koral mainly through her family background, as a relative of celebrated painter Fahrelnissa Zeid and renowned engraver Aliye Berger, and as a child born at the famous Şakirpaşa Mansion. The exhibition, however, seeks to make Koral known for her stunning contributions to contemporary ceramic art in Turkey.
“In this exhibition we aim to show Füreya, the contemporary artist, Füreya, who has opened a new era for the ceramic arts in Turkey,” Aliotti said.
The exhibition has a dual aim: To discover Füreya and explore Turkish contemporary ceramic history. The connection between Turkish architecture and ceramics and the way these two disciplines evolved together will receive especial attention.
Koral’s works are to be exhibited in chronological order, to show how Koral expressed her life through art and how she started to draw.
The exhibition will display nearly 200 pieces of art, documents and photographs, with works that range from the 1950s to her death in 1997.
Koral launched her artistic career when she was relatively old (during her late 30s), after she transferred to a sanatorium for tuberculosis.
Her sanatorium years triggered a “rebirth,” as she discovered the healing and transformative power of art through ceramics at the age of 40.
During those times her aunt Zeid inspired her to draw, resulting in colorful yet detailed artworks grounded in her own life. With these drawings she was able to launch her career.
Those initial signs of her talent greet the audience at the beginning of the exhibition, which then flows into other rooms, each of which revolves around a subsequent stage in her artistic development.
As the audience follows Koral’s artistic development, they see how her ceramic art technique improves. “Füreya was a pioneer in ceramic arts. One of the main emphases of the exhibition is to show how she combined architecture and ceramics as her career progressed,” the curator Şaşmazer said.
With regard to Koral’s artistic family, curator Farah Aksoy said the exhibition tries to focus more on Koral’s inner world and self-realization story.
He also added that Koral rejected considering her works as “high art,” and did not agree with confining art to museums. “That’s why we aim to reflect her humble approach in the exhibition,” she said.
The exhibition includes a wide range of objects from ink patterns to lithography, ceramic plates, outdoor panels, and her final work, Walking People, from the houses series.
Koral’s merging of architecture and ceramics left a distinctive mark on Istanbul, and her art is still observable in many places: Divan Hotel, Ka Han on Harbiye Street, a ceramics board in Mim apartment on Teşvikiye Street and İMÇ, to name a few.
The exhibition opens on Nov. 18 and will continue until Jan. 18, 2018.