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A German expert of Turkish contemporary art
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 18 Jun 2008 Wed 02:11 am

Following his heart, German native Marcus Graf moved to Istanbul only to become an expert on Turkish contemporary art. Working as curator, university instructor, and head of Istanbul Biennial’s guided tours, Graf sees improvements in the contemporary art scene in Istanbul, which he finds to be very inspiring for an artist. Yet he is critical of the young artists’ hesitations to use traditional Turkish or Islamic forms, for the fear of being labeled ‘orientalist’ or ‘religious artist’.

WHY, ONLY WHY. I ALWAYS ADMIRE THE PAINTINGS OF THE ORIENTALISTS AND PAINTINGS WHICH INCORPORATE DESIGNS OF CALLIGRAPHY.

He finds it to be improving even though young Turkish artists struggle more than their European peers. Yet as an artist he cherishes the unfinished sense of Istanbul, as it is open to be shaped and inspiring.

“What is fascinating is that many young Turkish artists question their identity. If they use symbols and forms of Anatolia, they are called ‘orientalists,' ‘kitsch,' or even ‘fascists.' If they use Islamic symbols, such as calligraphy or even Ebru, they are called ‘religious artist.' So there is hesitation among young artists to use traditional symbols of Turkey in contemporary art,” said Graf.

Graf moved to Turkey in 2001. Since then he has worked as the curator of the Siemens Art Gallery until recently, as the head of guided tours at the Istanbul Biennial, and as a faculty member in Yeditepe and Bilgi universities.


http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=93982


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