Nuri İyem turns 100 with an exhibit
ISTANBULIstanbul’s Evin Art Gallery is celebrating the 100th birthday of the great master of Turkish painting, Nuri İyem, with an exhibition titled “Nuri İyem Turns 100/Portrait.”
Among other exhibitions of the late artist, this is the most comprehensive one presenting the artist’s iconic portraits that he produced in his 68-year life in the arts, as well as his unseen and unfinished works.
The exhibition, which also displays the artist’s personal belongings, documents, letters and personal notes, is like an archive.
Exhibition director Feyyaz Yaman said the exhibition provided an opportunity to have a look at İyem through a perspective of 100 years. He said they had examined the ateliers of the artist for the exhibition, adding, “Nuri İyem’s studentship years, the 1930s, the effect and sanctions of the [Turksih] republic ideologies on the era and the artist’s reflex can be seen in the exhibition.”
Yaman said İyem had maintained his opposing views in the system, and continued: “He included headscarved women profiles in the painting of that era, especially after the 1960s. He used peasantry-originated things in the Turkish bourgeois environment for the first time. It is very hard to establish an atelier, to survive it and make an independent economy. He is one of the first artists who had succeeded in this.”
The exhibition also offers a book written by Yaman, Prof. Erhan Karaesmen, Selçuk Altun, Ali Şimşek and Özcan Türkmen. The writers interpret İyem’s portraits and artistic personality within the scope of the history of Turkish painting. There will also be a symposium on İyem’s paintings.
Meanwhile, preparations for a website to include 2,468 artworks produced by İyem continue. The exhibition will run through Oct. 31.
About the artist
Born in 1915, İyem attended the Nazmi Ziya, Hikmet Onat, İbrahim Çallı and the Leopold Levy Studios between 1933 and 1937 and graduated from them with the first degree. He finished his military service in 1938 and came back to the academy in 1940 to continue his education for a master’s degree in the painting department.
He opened his first personal exhibition in 1946 in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. Then he sent his “Nalbant-The Horseshoer” to the UNESCO exhibition. In the following years he continuously attended the “Yeniler” mixed exhibitions which took place at the French Cultural Center once every two years between 1947 and 1951. In 1948, he turned towards the abstract in his painting.
He received the honorary prize of the 50th year of the Turkish Republic for painting in 1973, the Sedat Simavi Fine Arts prize in 1989 and the honorary prize of the TÜYAP Istanbul Art Fair in 1997.