- What’s On
The uber-sophisticated Armaggan department store, at the entrance the Grand Bazaar, is always worth dropping into – a veritable museum of buyable contemporary Turkish design. Currently on show is an exhibition of work by 22 Turkish sculptors loosely collected round the theme of ‘nature as inspiration’. Istanbul may think it rules the arts, but goodness it is refreshing to see so much talent bubbling away in places like Eskişehir, Izmir, Mersin and Trabzon.
Tribute to Nature includes two eye-catching works by Meral Değer. The Izmir-born, Istanbul-trained artist has constructed her mellifluous sounding Sırça Serçe Sarayı (left) – Glass Sparrow Palace – from dead branches and brilliant cobalt blue mineral water bottles. The form is inspired by the complex bird kiosks traditionally carved in high relief into the walls of Ottoman mosques, complete with domes and pigeon-size bay windows. A painting by Rubens inspired her Cornucopia (below), in which a jewel-like glass cornucopia, with a sparrow perched on top, is set on a shard of splintered wood.
In the work of the other artists, dexterity, wit and imagination are all equally evident. Works range from the clever naturalism of Hakkı Kandır’s bamboo, carved to resemble coral, to the teasing figure of a woman holding a bald ibis, conjured out of ceramic, wood and lace by the inventive Eskişehir ceramicist Hülya Sözer.