Here is your glaze porn fix for the week. Ipek Kotan is a Turkish ceramic artist based in Holland and Switzerland who makes seductively dense porcelain forms that showcase a glaze like you’ve never seen. She took quite a path to arrive at pots, beginning with her upbringing in Istanbul, Turkey, followed by her time at Boston’s Emerson College receiving a degree in Media Arts, an experience at RISD which introduced her to pottery, and finally receiving her MA in Ceramic Design from Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK, in 2010. Now, just 8 years after her introduction to pottery, she is making impressive work that embodies all her past experiences.
In her artist statement, Kotan explains how she arrived at making pottery:
“Being one of the oldest objects ever made, the vessel tells the story of humankind more eloquently than any other. As it is one of the most commonly found objects in archeological sites all over the world, it is the embodiment of endurance, timelessness and the universality of the human experience.”
Kotan’s gilded paintings are created in a state-changing period of molten glass and growing crystals. They reveal passing time where subtle streaks of running viscous glaze can be seen on the inclined edges of the work and metallic glass crystals grow in piles in the center of each bowl. It is an effect so visually complex that it releases the surface from the preconceptions of “glaze” placing it between the mysterious depths of an iris and geological treasure. The grandeur of the gilded paintings are showcased by her thrown porcelain forms, specific enough to be called a bowl but ambiguous enough to be absent of direct historical references.
In his 2014 Ceramic Review article titled The Beauty of the Bowl Dr. Walter H. Lokau writes about Kotan:
“There they are: Kotan’s elegant, elemental, and timeless vessels; familiar yet endlessly varied, quiet yet resonant, perfect but full of character, and irresistibly appealing. […] What unites them all is their restrained, dignified beauty, created by a singular personality yet deeply rooted in the anonymous history of humankind’s vessels.”
The density, anonymity, and interior decoration push Kotan’s work towards symbolizing a bowl, not actually functioning as one. There is a perception that her forms are intertwined with the existence of the glaze. They are somehow less a design and more created as an essential component in the process of her alchemist glaze wizardry.
Justin Crowe is a Writer and Director of Operations at CFile.
What do you think of Ipek Kotan’s work? Tell us in the comment box below.