Alev: Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye
Istanbul: Finansbank, 2016
Garth Clark and Nermin Kura
Text in English and Turkish
We have some bad news and some good news.
The bad news is that Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye’s lavish new book is not available to purchase online or in bookstores anywhere in the world. With an edition of only 1,200 copies, they were gone in a heartbeat. The good news, however, is that the full book (all 240 pages) is available to members in the cfile.library as an ebook! Our deep gratitude to Finansbank and Galeri Nev Istanbul, who allowed us to offer this book, available exclusively online through the cfile.library.
Most people describe Siesbye’s pots as minimalist; clean, simple silhouettes, highly functional, and with subtle surface decoration. This is a simplified way of talking about most anything that was created in mid-century Scandinavia. Scandinavian design was often called “democratic” because it was about necessity, affordability, and appealing to the masses.
Siesbye’s pots rise above this standard. What some people do not see is how deeply considered her forms are, with swelling bellies, recalling Sung Pottery from China, with richness of glaze that evokes the depths of the ocean. They sit mesmerizingly still on the counter and invite us.
“Pots are ubiquitous. They appear everywhere in our lives. They play central roles in many of our rituals; they store and serve food. They are placed in homes and museums as objects of contemplation; they emerge from the earth to reveal secrets of civilization that are thousands of years old. One of the mistakes the uninitiated often make about pots is that they believe they are simple, uncomplicated objects. Even the initiated can make this error.” — Garth Clark
Clark, a longtime friend of Siesbye’s who also represented her for many years at Garth Clark Gallery, wrote a revealing three-part essay for the book. He writes of the first time he saw her work, “It was a revelation. A gallery full of pots hovered like alien spacecraft in the white ether of space: silent, majestic, inviting.”
He guesses in the essays the ways that Siesbye’s privileged-turned-tumultuous-and-political childhood in Turkey may have influenced her artwork. Though, it was probably her time living and working in Copenhagen at the height of the Scandinavian Modern movement that most influenced her. Many of the big name factories that we know of from that era (Royal Copenhagen, Gustavsberg, etc.) also included artists’ studios on their properties. And as a result, art and industry in Scandinavia integrated more than in other cultures.
It was actually a ceramic production factory that gave Siesbye her first solo-exhibition in the factory’s exhibition gallery.
This book is astonishingly beautiful in all aspects. Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye’s pots occupy the pages with grace and lightness and meaning, each one a separate masterpiece. One image shows the artist in her studio with a colossal grin, tossing a giant blue pot into the air like a balloon – as if they didn’t already seem weightless!
Her work was just exhibited at the Pierre-Marie Giraud Gallery (Brussels, May 20 — June 18, 2016) and those works can be viewed here online.
To access the full 240-page Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye book, exclusively available through cfile.library, start your 2-weeks free membership today. If you are already a cfile member, click here to look at the book.