Prof. Dr. Gülten İmamoğlu, who is one of the best artists of Contemporary Turkish Art of Painting and one of the representatives of international platform of it, is an artist having 7 awards- four of them are first prizes. The two works of the artist who opens exhibitions in important galleries around the world are exhibited at the permanent collection of Las Vegas South Nevada Fine Art Museum and one of them is at Germany Haggen Musseum. Furthermore, she was awarded with “2011 Woman Of The Year” thanks to her art and academic success by American Biography Center. The artist also have lots of awards to honour and this success is a source of pride for Turkey.
Gülten Imamoğlu has an academic background contributing to her artistic identity. But Imamoğlu thinks that what makes her free is her artistry. The art is a life road in which she questions the life itself for her.
In her works, which she describes the livability of dreams; she uses her art perspective to get away from mediocrity and to mark the past and the future. In her art, the sections of life have turned into layers; some of them are about sprouts, some are love! Birth and death are inevitable. She makes the beauty in realities and legends dance with sorrow and love. Sometimes you write your own story, sometimes you get lost in hers. She says one of her aims is to show the miracles in the deep.
We had a conversation with Gülten Imamoğlu who we appreciate because of her success and efforts.
Yasemin Semercioğlu: We know that you question the life in your works. And I also know that it is wondered why you prefer to describe it with those flying colours. Could you explain it?
Gülten İmamoğlu: We love colours as a nation, maybe this is why I prefer them. But I do not want to underestimate the situation by this explanation. Colour is courage. The more you add different colours to colour itself, the easier it loses its essence. Each person has energy waves. Some are like whispers, some are like screams ; some contain harmony, some have chaos. I love using contrasting colours in a balanced way and make them in harmony with each other in my works.
Y.S : Colours have distinctive meanings in life. What do the colours mean to you ?
G.İ: Sure… The more you learn the language of colours, the better you can reflect your feelings. Notwithstanding, colour language is subjective and depends on instinct. Red may be of love to you but it may be of sorrow for me. The colour languge differs from person to person; nation to nation. But there are international common points. For me, green tells infinite peace, orange tells enthusiasm, purple tells sadness. White is unidentified, unknown… Like death, like unspoken words… I think these clues are enough…
Y.S: What could you say about your life perspective?
G.İ: I can introduce myself as a person who takes the road without resting like our great leader Atatürk. My mother and my close friends know what I mean. It is impossible to be the owner of your work without being slave of it. This is my main philosophy about my work. I know that the only way to log is making mistakes. Furthermore, I have a humanist side. Human is valuable, as valuable as the nature.
Y.S: What do you tell about the effects of the art on human psychology?
G.İ: Art is not a tool which just makes humans happy. Art is a tool for facing with realities, making think, question, feel. To accomplish them, the artist should know the psychology of the society and the people. It is essential to establish a relationship with the work and the society. The communication is the previous step of interaction. A good artist is also a good sociologist and psychologist.
Y.S: You are a positive person and you are trying to be in harmony with life even while you are questionaning it. How do you describe the relationship between happiness and art?
G.İ: Art is the language of the affective world. The communities who are away from art live everything with missing and are not able to describe what is the missing. The music you listen brings you to different worlds because it gets the rhythm of your heart. Or a movie. If we simulate the arts to musical instrument, each person is affected by one of the instrument. The important point is choosing the right instrument with right person. There should be an instrument that we can play to reflect our emotions.
Y.S: What are the “Art” and the “Artist” according to Gülten Imamoğlu?
G.İ : Art is an international language- it is a lingua franca. The language of humanity. A common result of happiness, problems, sorrow, hope, everything of life. The artist is the person who cares this international language. The artist is the pioneer who produces, sees, hears, feels and creates.
Y.S : I want to learn your ideas on art education considering you are an educationist at the same time. How should be the art education for kids and young people according to you ?
G.İ: The education of art is a very sensitive subject. There is always a dilemma whether it is a need or not. I think I am able to answer your question as an artist who is taught and teach. There are serious mistakes on art education. It is an inner travel and a person explores himself during the education period. The art educator should be a guidance because on this road, the only thing that is needed is a guidance. If the art educator wants to teach his/her own truths, the learner will lose his/her self-confidence. I find art education to kids too risky. It is better for a kid not to be taught than taught in a wrong way. The art education seems as a craft but teaching techniques is not similar to art education. The real issue is the next step after learning techniques- is what you will do with your knowledge. A wise trainer is aware of the differences between people and tries to make the learners find themselves.
Y.S : Are there any common points of the artists that you like or follow ?
G.İ : I only admire the artists who are pioneers or original. An extraordinary thing occurs when creativity combines with intelligence and technique. Nothing ordinary surprises me. I just look at, that’s it !
Y.S: What do you think about the relationship between development and the art?
G.İ: They are completely parallel. Look at the nations that are respectful to the art and cultural values, they are all developed ones. The support and investment to art requires consciousness and saturation.
Y.S: You are an artist who did important works, attracted attention of the art world. You have important awards. We know famous fashion designer Juan Carlosa was ispired by your works and prepared a collection. What do you think about the interest of the art worl to your works? What are the reasons of this situation?
G.İ: The reactions from abroad and the awards that I have taken are pleasant but it is a long-term period.There is lots of effort and labour background. I am always determined and excited to be better. Producing without government and agency support under the daily conditions, presenting your works at the international fairs abroad for your country at first, for yourself secondly.. I have struggled for a long time in order to be accepted and produce in an international way, catch an original line. Without tiring… My works took place at interesting collections and won significant prizes. For instance, Donald Trump took edition and reproduction rights of the nine of my works. Or American Biography Center gave me “The woman of the year” prize in 2011. There are lots of first prizes including the one which is among 95 countries and 5000 artists in London. These prizes are the evidences of the accuracy of my way. There are lots of things to do and I find myself powerful enough to succeed them. The galleries that I work for do what is needed in the art market for me. What I should do is to do and produce for representing my country with my works.
Y.S: You are dancing with extraordinary colours while telling the stories in your works. How do you introduce yourself while producing and which explorations you realize on this road?
G.İ: Producing is the area that I find myself and be free. The private time that I manifest the deep emotions which I have never shared beforeThe most ordinary realities turn into extraordinary things by creationg different effects. My works may be more mysterious than many other works. Expression language is subjective, but I examine the time phenomenon and existence reality that we have to knuckle down in different terms.. Sometimes I give my messages via a Sumerian epic of creation, sometimes I do it via a Greek Goddess. I made the Gods who are in “Sumerian Epic of Creation, Enuma Eliş” time travel by redepicting in my own technique at my exhibition “Organik Metastrata”. Under my painting technique, there is power against the time by controlling the ink viscosity. I call the works that I produced with this style “Organik Metastrata”. The hidden figurative forms turned into sculptural ones and found identities. It is possible to realize the extraordinary examples of Organic Metastrata by the name of Hermoafrodisia at my last exhibition.
Y.S: The last question: What are the reflections of your academician identity to your artistic one?
G.İ: Actually, being an academician and an artist represents two different points. You have a chance to examine youself and your environment by a different perspective under the light of being equipped with the knowledge because the academics see the art as a kind of science. My artistic identity is always more important than my academic one. Because the only thing making me feel free is my art. However, the gratification of training young art educators balance being free.
We thank to Gulten Imamoglu for the interview and we hope that the support and the numbers of the artists representiong our country in international platform will increase; so the Turkish art will take place in the art world.