Canan Dagdelen is an inspired artist and a consummate craftsperson. Her work has its parentage in the modernist tradition but is structurally and artistically delineated by the aesthetic and intellectual heritage of Turkish art and craft dating back to the 8th–12th centuries. Today this traditional art is very much alive in Anatolia, where wonderful ceramic household ware, decorative objects, and ceramic tiles are produced by contemporary masters, embellishing the ceramics with representational images and text in rich colors. It is particularly striking to see the intricate design patterns that evolved from the application of calligraphy with ceramics.
In her most recent work Canan Dagdelen has reinterpreted the historic Turkish tradition of text and the application of that text to the object.
The object is perfect and precise, as perfect as can be by hand and by machine. The text as design breaks from the tradition of the whole and complete and deconstructs the traditional text as fragment – as symbols of our time. The designs are renamed words, taking on a life and spirit of their own, displayed as new readings, as conceptual abstractions rather than as literary text or as message. These “renamed words” may suggest a line on the horizon or the motion of a dancer as well as the beginning or end of a new word, stimulating the recipient to search for meaning in the complete text.
The ceramic art of Canan Dagdelen is the fusing of object and text. It is also about delimiting, about taking away. It is the creating of the pure, minimalistic object, suggesting a simpler and serene life, but very much giving life to the art.
Dagdelen is a striking new energetic force on the European art scene. She has been represented in exhibitions in Austria, Germany, and Turkey. In April 1993 she will have a one-person show in Chicago, Illinois, USA.