Dystopias in today’s ceramic art: The example of EFE Turkel’s ‘Magna mater series ’

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Fevziye Yelmen


In this study, ceramic artist EFE Turkel’s ‘Magna Mater’ series will be analysed using the phenomenological method in the context of the concept of dystopia. Whether there is a spatial belonging to utopia is a phenomenon that has been debated by philosophers. In other words, the question of whether utopia is a place to live is part of these discussions. On the other hand, with utopia, there is also the concept of dystopia, which is handled with an almost dialectical approach, spatialised as an inhabitable and impossible place. The concept of dystopia, used by John Stuart Mill in 1868, was encountered especially in literary works. When the concepts of dystopia and utopia are evaluated in the context of life experiences, it can be said that the starting point of the concept of dystopia is based on a previously experienced life practice. While utopia is the reciprocal of idealisation, dystopia is, on the contrary, built on the imperfect. Dystopia as an artistic phenomenon that takes place within the existentialism of mankind. It represents a place that does not exist in the mind of the viewer, but on the other hand, this non-existent place is also another not yet experienced place of an experienced place. Since dystopia emerges as a contradiction to the concept of utopia, the first examples are critical, and in the later examples the introversion and unhappiness that the artists live in their production and inner world are dominant. These thoughts have been featured in novels such as Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World. In addition, the dystopic city image created in the movie Metropolis and some scenes depicted in the 1984 novel are examples of this. Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Henry Moore’s sculptures and Benjamin Peret’s Automata photographs are among the known examples. The works of artists such as Kannar Lichtenberger, Hoffmann Ruan and Alison Ruttan can be shown as examples of dystopic approaches in today’s ceramic art.

Keywords: Utopia, dystopia, ceramic, Art, EFE Turkel.


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Yelmen , F. . (2021). Dystopias in today’s ceramic art: The example of EFE Turkel’s ‘Magna mater series ’. Global Journal of Arts Education, 11(1), 117–130. https://doi.org/10.18844/gjae.v11i1.5729
Design and Arts