Mysterious Power That Flows From A Brush: Illumination

We Spoke With Dr. Münevver Üçer About Her Illumination Exhibition, Which Opens At The Vatican In Early June.

How did the idea of an exhibition at the Vatican come about? The awards I won at the Florence Art Biennale in 2009 and 2011 fueled interest in our traditional art of illumination among the European art authorities, and I received an invitation from the Vatican Ministry of Culture. What is illumination (tezhip in Turkish)? Tezhip -the word means gilding- was used for centuries as decoration around the edges of manuscript leaves. We might also call it “the clothing of calligraphy”. How do you approach the art of illumination? My artistic approach rests on reinterpreting the art of illumination according to modern art theory and creating new works while at the same time remaining faithful to the traditional rules that have existed for centuries. I believe that capturing the universal through innovative approaches while preserving the classical rules is the way to represent our culture on all platforms. What are your sources of inspiration? I try to follow the logic of innovation and quest for the new as illustrated by the 16th century schools of Kara Memi and Şahkulu and masters like Ali Üsküdari in the 18th century. It is important to me to capture a universal language through a concept of modern art. The recipient of numerous international awards in her field, Dr. Münevver Üçer pioneered in the training of young artists in the art of illumination at Mimar Sinan University of the Fine Arts, thereby presenting art collectors with new choices.