• blueness II: oriental blue

    October 12th, 2014

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    tea-bowl

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    Pomegranates. Steaming tulip shaped glasses of tea. Walnuts and wood fires. And, most importantly, good company. Blue may be a theme this October, but there’s no reason not to pair it up with a little warmth, right?

  • blueness:

    September 26th, 2014

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    Today it’s all about you, blue. You show up anywhere and everywhere. You’ve even claimed the planet. You tend to play it cool, sometimes too cool, but you know you’re just too primary to ignore. You extinguish fiery reds to create presentable purples and silence screaming yellows until they’re gentle greens. You’re the hero of summer and the tyrant of winter. What would we do without you?

  • the good in wood

    June 19th, 2014

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    Is imagination something that’s inborn? Is it something that develops after birth? Is it a gift of the spirit? Or a reward that’s earned? Is it the product of certain genes? The outcome of curious play? Personally, I think it’s all of that and more. And I’d also be willing to bet that as long as humans have indulged and exercised their imaginations, and wanted to share their stories, they’ve turned to wood.  Read More…

  • anish kapoor at sabancı

    November 5th, 2013

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    Anish Kapoor 1

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    Anish Kapoor diptych

    If you haven’t ventured out to see Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at Sabancı Museum in Emirgan you’re really missing something. I think the only somewhat negative comment I have about this exhibition is that it might have made even more impact if there had been fewer works included. This might be a case where more really is less. There’s really something quite ‘epic” about the scale of many of Mr Kapoor’s works and it sometimes felt they deserved a bit more room to breathe and be navigated.

    I’ve visited twice now and even though I didn’t have my junior art critic with me — who, incidentally, got a lot out of the experience for a three-year-old — I passed over some of the pieces much more quickly because I want to spend a bit more time with some of the ones I was most taken with the first time. I’ve only shared a couple because pictures don’t do the tactile, sensual feeling of these sculptures and their media the justice they deserve. So go feel it for yourself.

    Anish Kapoor room

    ANISH KAPOOR IN ISTANBUL – UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2014

  • briken aliu’s guitars

    May 11th, 2013

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    I’ve always admired people who can make music. There’s something about them, as if their minds existed  in two or more universes simultaneously. Which makes me think that the people who craft musical instruments for professionals must be  attuned to some truly special wavelengths. On Friday I happened to meet such an exceptional guy, someone who has been creating instruments since his mid-teens. While he’s now approaching 30, he has the keen gleam in his eye of someone who is making a living doing exactly what he loves. A self-described “gypsy” originally from Albania, Briken Aliu came to Istanbul with no friends and no Turkish as a teenager and has since set himself up as a preeminent musical instrument artisan, first apprenticing with Murat Sezen. While the economy has had an impact on his trade, at any one time he’s working on at least 6-7 projects, including a remake of a guitar that Django Reinhardt favoured. His expertise isn’t restricted to any particular style, either. He’s adept at fashioning Balkan instruments, electric guitars, jazz, classical, bass — you name it.  Mr Aliu  loves music, which is probably how he infuses such spirit into his work. His custom projects usually take about 3 months to complete. To see more from this gifted craftsman, please visit Briken Guitars. He’s making the music of our sphere more beautiful one note at a time.

  • workshop wonderland

    May 9th, 2013

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    Yesterday I had an all too brief glimpse into the mind of one of the most fascinating creatives in Istanbul — someone who successfully blurs the line between art, architecture, design and craft — in what might well be the most distinctive style I’ve seen anywhere in years. At some point I will have to do a full exploration and profile of Sema Topaloglu’s Cibali workshop and showroom. Her work environment is a veritable wonderland of organic shapes and materials, prototypes and projects. You’d almost think you were standing in a special effects workshop for a motion picture, except that the materials are not made of foam and cardboard, and she’s not creating illusions, so much as fabricating a new physical reality in media such as Black Sea hardwood, raw iron, glass and marble. There are huge mushroom lamp models, wood blocks representing a neighbourhood planning project she’s working on, multi-level tables … glass and iron objects all coated in a layer of sawdust fresh from her usta‘s saw table. There are so many compelling things to look at that it’s hard to isolate your focus to one spot. Furniture swings open to reveal elaborate tool bits that look like a chest of ninja throwing stars. Although I’ve written about Sema before, she hasn’t been standing still for more than a nanosecond since I last saw her. She’s too busy blurring the lines between what creativity and professionalism, art and architecture, design and craft can be. Take a look at some of Sema’s projects here.

  • printemps’ last late night

    April 19th, 2013

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    Last night was the final late night of Printemps Des Artistes 2013 and offered some its most enjoyable moments. Opening night was so busy you could hardly move, let alone appreciate the art on the walls. A particular high moment was watching Takayoshi Sakabe perform his Butoh dance. It was truly dramatic — and not simply because I thought he was going to knock some of my work off the walls. The man not only knows how to produce the most delicate brush strokes as a painter, he knows how to convey a series of really powerful emotional movements. It’s impressive to see such motion/emotion in  a gallery which can feel so otherwise restrained environment. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the exhibition there’s still this evening until 8pm and tomorrow until 8pm at Sainte Pulcherie Fransiz Lisesi. Thank you to everyone who came by. It was a great experience.

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  • printemps des artistes

    April 12th, 2013

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    Tonight from 18:30-22:00 the doors open on Printemps Des Artistes 2013 at Sainte Pulchérie Fransız Lisesi. The theme of the exhibition is Passages. And I’ve been anticipating it for months because I am one of the nine creative people included in the exhibition. Yesterday when I went to hang the pictures I got a firsthand preview of the eight other minds contributing to the show. It’s a really interesting international mix with some established talent and some newcomers (such as yours truly). If you can’t make it tonight, please drop by some time between tomorrow and the 20th — except Sunday, when the gallery is closed. There’s also going to be a party next Thursday from 18:30 to 22:00 (the 18th) where Takayoshi Sakabe, one of the painters, will perform a Japanese Butoh dance and Stephanie Westdal will provide some of her signature songs. Also on the afternoons of Tuesday and Friday between 13:00-15:00 there’s meet the artist sessions. Look forward to greeting you there.

    DIRECTIONS: Towards the Taksim end of Istiklal Caddesi find Kuçük Parmakkapı Sokak (if you’re walking from the Square there’s a McDonald’s on the corner, on your left). Walk straight down the road about 75 metres until you come face-to-brick with Istanbul Atatürk Lisesi. Turn right, walk 15 metres and then turn left onto Çukurluçesme Sokak walk another 20 metres and ring the gate (if the door’s not open) at number 7 Sainte Pulcherie Fransız Lisesi. The gallery is downstairs. 

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  • think …

    April 8th, 2013

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    How is it that a colour can so dominate one little girl’s imagination? This post is dedicated to someone who wants to see, touch, drink and think in one colour, and one colour only. Guess which one it is.

  • street colour, street art

    February 24th, 2013

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