Modern turkish art: özdemir altan

the painter Ozdemir Altan German summary Türkçe özeti

"Elements that are different inter alia in terms of concept, origin, and logic come together to make up art."

from Özdemir Altan :
"The Dog-Walking Area Integration Project"

Kayasultan S. 72/8, Kat 2,
Özcan App.
81090 Kozyatagi
contact: E-mail to Özdemir Altan

Examples of current work:

Earlier working phases and further information

Samples of Altan's work since 1982:

new period family trees panel works

Samples of earlier working phases:

education phase romantic period kings & queens cyclops & fly king tapestry March 12 realistic phase



About the painter:

Born at Giresun, Black Sea region of Turkey. Being the son of an intellectual and urban family, he grow up in a cultural refined milieu.
"Education period"
Graduated from the ISFAA (Istanbul State Fine Arts Academy, name later changed to 'Mimar Sinan University'), Painting Department.
When he was studying in the Academy of Fine Arts after 1949, he got acquainted with the masterpieces of classical music, painting and literature. Hundreds of nature and portrait studies as well as still life pieces.
"Romantic Period"
Became a member of the teaching staff at the ISFAA, a position he hold for almost 40 years up to 2001. He made every effort to modernize his university and the artistic environment. Participated in many individual and joint exhibitions. (s. Exhibitions)
"Kings and Queens Period"
"Cyclops and the Son of the King of the Flies"

Altan introduced the first of his many innovative techniques at the 'Avni Işik" exhibition in 1967. This was followed by exhibitions by Zeki Faik, Mahmut Cuda, Bedri Rahmi and a large number of young artists and students. Became well-known as a writer and participant in conferences. In his many writings, conferences and seminaries, he deals with art, and especially with the space concept, which he calls 'depth', as well as with the reflection of this concept on his own art.
Investigated traditional carpet and tapestry knotting and adapted these techniques to his working methods. The most important examples of his tapestry are the wall hangings in Istanbul Broadcasting House.
"March 12 and the After"
1971 military coup at Turkey: The pictures of this period show Özdemir Altan to be a witness to the turmoil happening in the name of maintaining the stability of the country, show him shattered, suffering painful years. The first distinguishing marks of his later works appear in this period.
"Realistic phase" (New Figurations)
In the Realistic phase his fallen, panicked, painful suffering human figures began to change and seem like mechanical usage tools. At first their puppet-like articulated bodies were mostly combined through screws etc.
The composition was always horizontal, the upper part was a deep emptiness, within which always a pale sun of hope was shining.
The tension of the events was substituted by a silent, unbiased concept.
Horizontal elements in the lower part were situated within the depth of abstract space. Concrete particles constituting the subject were combined to create a rational form or a structure.
Among the motives for these works was a reaction against the confusion in Turkey and antipathy towards the reigning simplicity in the Turkish thought system. This protest was to prompt his work for a long term movement.
But the pictures reveal discernibly good hope. In this time concepts like "Joining the strange" or "alienation" began to consolidate.
"Collages and Three-Dimensions"
"Give me a giant UHU and I stick together every thing on the world".
Most of the works of this phase are produced by mixed material and mixed techniques, forms and colours unrelated to each other. Materials which acquire some depth on the surface and which on the contrary are situated on the plane are pre-eminently present. On surfaces are many remarkable elements ranging from calligraphic ones to relief-like structures: Written characters, certain plastic materials, some signs, some graphic features, even ready-made. Above all, linear elements functioning as composing factors for all these materials, combined spraying techniques, and different textural aesthetic tastes obtained through their combination. Various materials which by their juxtaposition or superposition help to form different atmospheres. In addition, titles such as "We Should not in the Meantime Neglect Sanskrit either" and "The Encyclopaedia of Rascal Dogs", "Centralised Camp for the Care, Training and Support of critics" or "The problem of accommodation of the children of eastern emigrants".
In this phase we find some affinity especially to his later panel works realised with groups.
Intermediary phases: Özdemir Altan has gone through numerous intermediary phases, which are difficult to relate to his basic evolutionary phases. The main of them are: "Ramazan Paintings", a group of collage works entitled "Mandolin-less Nature Morte", "Kassel paintings", "Calendar Pages" and his jointly collages together with Cem Nar.
1988, 1990, 1991, 1992
"Panel works with multi person"
Gradually formulated the concept of developing a method of proving in three dimensions the coincidental confluence of different artistic media derived from multifarious ideas, roots, structures and rationales.
As a result, in large scale works with contributions from a large number of people, he showed that thousands of coincidental details can, without any conscious attempts to meld them into a whole, form a seemingly inevitable unity of design, form, harmony of colour, composition and rhythm. Using this method the artist opened up an unlimited wealth of expression.
Concerning the objects mounted to the panels we are dealing with an accordion, cookies, a toy gun, various black and red painted wooden bombs, a poster, photos, plastic letters, a radio belonging to the University's printing shop's master, hard board templates etc. All these logically completely incompatible objects put together yield and make perfect the term "space". With these collages and assemblages going back to Cubism or even more to Dadaism, Özdemir Altan realises his characteristic "space". He transfers the procedures tested in his panel works equally into his paintings. Working with paints, paper, small objects, structures, contrasting colours, that is with the logical contrasts of a variety of different objects he places his compositions into the empty space.
Since 1990
"Family Trees"
Altan's Family Trees are the output of an accumulating work since 1990. It actually originates from a work with the same theme first performed in 1987. Simply shaped, round elements connected with one another. The shapes in these "Family Trees", released from any attempt to be pleasant, nice or chic undertake the role of a conveyor of the "depth" term; to emphasise his view that the combination of completely different concepts, logics and structures creates art.
The artist defines this series of pictures as the output of simplicity, intellectual bareness and the desire to create an enthusiastic world out of nothingness.
Since 2004
"New Period"
The rich eperiences gained in the Family Tree, Panel Works and Collages Periods are combined after 2003, resulting in a multitude of pictures and new panel works.
see also: Nur Niven: "About Özdemir Altan",
exhibition catalogue "Family Trees",
Emlak Bankası Beyoğlu Sanat Galerisi, 10/28th Mart, 1998

Please visit also the following sites:

Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi: İstanbul Resim Heykel Müzesi

Eczacibaşı Sanal Müzesi - Eczacibaşı Virtual Museum

Biennale Internationale dell' Arte Contemporanea

Homepage of the Lippstadt Cultural Association, Germany

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Dec. 2010