The Current State Of Tradition

İSMAİL ACAR IS A MAJOR NAME IN CONTEMPORARY TURKISH PAINTING. ALTHOUGH INFLUENCED BY TRADITIONAL TURKISH-ISLAMIC CULTURE IN HIS PAINTINGS, HE ATTRACTS ATTENTION FOR REINTERPRETING IT IN MODERN FORM.

You can see İsmail Acar’s Love of Islam show at Istanbul’s Galeri Idil through February 26. We spoke briefly with Acar about his art.

Islamic themes have gained recognition with the recent rise of Arab artists especially in contemporary art. To what do you attribute that rise?
This process is actually a reflection of the way societies validate their existence through art and culture.  No matter how much money they have, as long as communities and states do not produce culture they end up destroying their own values and eventually disappear themselves by failing to leave a legacy for future generations in the form of a common memory.

To what are you particularly sensitive when you incorporate Islamic themes in your paintings?
My point of departure is the totality of culture and art produced by the Turks over close to a thousand years under the aegis of Islam. In putting that forward I try to act on the basis of common values in areas that go beyond Islamic values and aesthetics or that might be open to interpretation.

Are there any artists and concepts traditional or modern from which you draw inspiration in your work?
Tradition is my point of departure. All old calligraphy, tile work and architecture are important for me in that sense. The art of ancient Greece and Rome and of the Renaissance as well as Seljuk, Andalusian, Chinese, Japanese and Ottoman art are the other important sources from which I draw inspiration.

Is there any city in which you dream of holding a solo show?
Kyoto in Japan, North Korea and New York’s MoMA are the main places that come to mind.

LOVE OF ISLAM IN THE WORLD
İsmail Acar has this to say about his exhibition, which will travel to some Arab countries as well as to Europe and the U.S. after Istanbul: “Although there is demand to show these works in several parts of the world in response to requests from those countries, my fundamental objective is to enable Islamic societies to confront and rediscover Islam and the eastern aesthetic.”

“My point of departure is the totality of culture and art produced by the Turks over close to a thousand years under the aegis of Islam.”