Contemporary Ceramics Around Europe
Arter has recently moved to the up-and-coming art neighborhood of Dolapdere, leaving its magnificent “shell” on Istiklal Street to a new art center, namely Mesher. It has already been clear that Mesher will inspire us with well-thought exhibitions. Bahattin Öztuncay will be at the helm of this new cultural institution. Öztuncay is a well-acclaimed cultural researcher and curator, who is recognized for his works on photography in the late Ottoman period, as well as several exhibitions and publishing projects he has conducted within the Vehbi Koç Foundation for years. The first exhibition of Mesher, curated by Catherine Milner and Károly Aliotti, is titled “Beyond the Vessel: Myths, Legends, and Fables in Contemporary Ceramics around Europe”. But don’t think that this is a ceramic exhibition you could stumble upon every day.
The exhibition is held in collaboration with Messums Wiltshire, an innovative art center in the UK, and displays works by 13 “out-of-the-box” artists, redefining the boundaries of ceramic art. Sculptures who knead themselves from raw mud; moss-like, phosphorus-green, outlying children resembling Scandinavian forest elves; imaginary sea creatures you cannot believe that they do not exist; characters from the Grimm Brothers and Andersen tales; dinosaurs wandering among the ruins of our modern world are among some of the striking scenes of the exhibition. Ömer Koç, the founder of the new art space, sums up the importance of this first exhibition as follows: “I have developed a special interest in clay, since the day I started collecting İznik, Kütahya and Çanakkale tiles and ceramics. For that reason, I am deeply pleased to present ‘Beyond the Vessel’ as the first exhibition of Meşher, where you would find a concise examination of contemporary ceramics through the works by pioneering artists.”
Mesher means “exhibition space” in old Ottoman Turkish, and it will have an interdisciplinary approach focusing on various themes from the Middle Ages up to the present, from ceramic to avant-garde painting, from the history of photography to design. While you are there, do not forget to have a closer look at the building that hosts the exhibition. This old townhouse was first mentioned as “Friedmann Apartment” on Charles E. Goad maps of 1905, and later as “Meymaret Han” on J. Pervititch maps of 1932, which might refer to its architect Petraki Meymaridis Efendi. The building’s name later morphed into “Meymenet Han”, probably due to a kind of social amnesia Istanbul has suffered in the latter half of the 20th century.
Until 22nd December: www.mesher.org