The Past and Future of the Ceramic Craft in Kütahya

Talk

February 17, 2024 / 15:00

Pera Museum hosts two talks focused on the history of Kütahya tiles and ceramics as part of the exhibition Souvenirs of the Future. In the first talk, Bilal Yılmaz, who is among the exhibited artists with the work titled Alhambra, presents his study conducted with curator Lydia Chatziiakovou titled "An Artistic Research Report on Kütahya Tiles". In the second talk, collector, and researcher Dinos Kogias takes a close look at the tradition of ceramics in Kütahya through emblematic pieces.

An Artistic Research Report on Kütahya Tiles
Bilal Yılmaz & Lydia Chatziiakovou: 15:00 – 16:00

Imprints of History on Kütahya’s Pottery
Dinos Kogias: 16:00 – 17:00 

The event taking place at the Pera Museum Auditorium is free of charge and does not require a reservation. During the talk on "An Artistic Research Report on Kütahya Tiles," Turkish-English simultaneous translation will be provided, and for the talk on " Imprints of History on Kütahya’s Pottery," Turkish-Greek simultaneous translation will be available.

An Artistic Research Report on Kütahya Tiles
Artist Bilal Yılmaz and curator Lydia Chatziiakovou’s research project prepared for Souvenirs of the Future is an artistic research on the current ecosystem of Kütahya tiles. During a one-week field research, they investigated the resonance of the craft within the region and its impact on the city’s social, financial, and urban environment through the stories and relationships of living actors, makers, traders and institutions. The research initially started with information collected through observations of the urban landscape and discussions with locals. This led to a snowflake effect in which each person they spoke to suggested others who they thought would have worthwhile contributions while the informal tone of the interviews allowed the duo to gather a wealth of personal stories and information. 

The project was realised through a dissection of oral history – people’s stories, experiences, memories, and impressions – and academic research, which composed a mosaic of facts and interpretations, intertwined history with lived experiences, and constructed an overview of the current situation of Kütahya tiles. The research is documented as an extensive report, while Yılmaz’s sculpture titled Elhamra is a distillation of the whole reflective process on the past, present and future potential of Kütahya tiles. 

Imprints of History on Kütahya’s Pottery
Dinos Kogias seeks answers for questions surrounding the social and political background of Kütahya pottery during the late Ottoman Period in the talk, “Imprints of History on Kütahya’s Pottery”. How has history been imprinted on the celebrated ceramics of Ottoman Kütahya? What effects did the Greek-Turkish war of 1897, the Balkan Wars and the First World War have on them? What impact did the proclamation of the Constitution in 1908 have on pottery workshops?

The slogans of the French Revolution, the medieval legend of Genevieve, a Spanish king and an ancient Greek goddess emerge from the pottery kilns of Kütahya at the beginning of the 20th century, pioneered by Armenian, Turkish and Greek Orthodox craftsmen. The talk will also reveal the unknown aspects of pottery production in Kütahya during the difficult period of the Greek occupation (July 1921 – August 1922). A fascinating look inside the history of Kütahya’s pottery through emblematic ceramics from the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics Collection, other private collections, as well as rare photographic and archival material.  

Temporary Exhibition

Souvenirs of the Future

The exhibition focuses on the memories recalled through objects whilst exploring the connections between memory and future imaginings through a contemporary lens. The cultural and symbolic value and significance of objects taken as souvenirs, those that remind us of a certain place and time, or those that are collected, weave together personal journeys and the memory of the region. Instead of a nostalgic attachment to the past, it proposes contemplating how the future will be remembered and focuses on memory's future-oriented functions.

Souvenirs of the Future

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The Painter of Venice

Pera Museum presents an exhibition of French artist Félix Ziem, one of the most original landscape painters of the 19th century. 

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Witches’ Sun
Mehmet Berk Yaltırık

I walk over rocks hot as iron under the September sun. I can make out a few lines in the distance, and a few cracked rocks, but apart from those, not a single tree, not one plant

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Ideology

Pera Museum’s  Cold Front from the Balkans exhibition curated by Ali Akay and Alenka Gregorič brings together contemporary artists from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.