A new center, a new space, a new exhibition… İstanbul has gained a brand new space where art lovers are able to come together not only for exhibitions but also for book readings, art talks, workshops, seminars and even art visits.
The center’s first exhibition reflects the excitement of the space, with two prominent Turkish artists: Mustafa Ata and Devrim Erbil. “Bahar Sergisi” (Spring Exhibition), which features recent works of the two artists, is on until June 15.
“When you compare this new work with my previous work, you can see that the form comes from the background, whether the surface is depicted with color or not,” says Ata in an interview with Today’s Zaman. “Color is an inevitable area for me, but if you look at my past work, you could say I have toned down my use of color.”
“It is true that the more the figure gets abstracted, the more the colors gain power,” says Ata. “The more the form gets abstracted, the more meaning comes into prominence. It’s just like the structural values of calligraphy, which leaves the form behind the meaning. When form is depicted with color, the meaning of the color as a plastic value grows for me. Today I question these values once more. Color is a means of expression and in my pictures you can see the kind of impact that color creates on people.
“Artists usually act taking into account the society in general,” says Ata, regarding how the audience can establish an interaction with the artwork. “The process of asking a question and replying concerns everybody, including the artist. The artist has to understand all the arts and the social life throughout history while working. Remember that Picasso said he bore the entire art of 30,000 years while he was painting. Art can only be produced in this way.”
The encounter of the artist and the audience is critical. “Whenever society starts to meet its needs within a cultural framework, it undertakes its role in art thoroughly,” says Ata. “Societies gain their existence through the vision of art and artist.”
A new breath to Turkish art circles
The center opened in March, two months before the exhibition. The idea for such a center was born when one of the founders, Gizem Tatlıcı, experienced difficulties while conducting research for her master’s in fine arts at Işık University. “The problems I experienced in finding resources for my thesis led me to establish a space where art lovers, art professionals, collectors and young researchers could come together.”
Tatlıcı says the project began to grow with support from Turkish art circles. “We wanted to reveal the value attributed to art and artistic taste with this project,” she says, explaining the center’s motto “Taste of Art.” “While creating a space for research, we want to underpin the formation of a taste through art travels and various projects. It is crucial for us to convey our accumulation of knowledge to art lovers.
“Tatart is an art club. Such centers are called ‘art hubs’ internationally. Besides, the idea of getting the use of a public library without being a member is quite new and we can see some other examples in Turkey. We are proud to have a library especially for thesis research in this field.”
Tatart follows international art fairs and provides guidance to art lovers. “Through the network we have built, we share information about Turkish artists and their works and also bring together foreign art lovers with Turkish art spaces.”
Future plans include organizing seminars on art history and interpreting painting, and on creating a collection. “The mission of the research center is to publish new books on Turkish art and artists,” says Tatlıcı. “In our collection we have art magazines from the 1970s, rare books published before 1930, and books published in the 1950s that are hard to find. This library is very precious for us as it establishes a very important background for our book publication projects. We’re preparing several books we believe will create a tremendous impression in terms of their subjects and their project partners. We will start promoting a new book on art in the fall.”
Apart from the library project and exhibitions, the center organizes art visits. “Interest in Eastern artists grows day by day,” says Tatlıcı. “Our visit to Dubai was very effective. In November there will be a very significant fair in Abu Dhabi. There are very important fairs in Europe such as London Frize, Art Basel, ArcoMadrid, Tefaf Maastricht and Art Cologne. We follow these fairs as well emerging art in the East.”
For more information on the activities of Tatart visit www.tatart.com.tr.