Making art in the early Turkish Republic : The Academy of Fine Arts in İstanbul and The Art-Craft Department in Ankara

Becker, Martina
This dissertation studies creative practices in the early Turkish Republic alongside their conceptualisation as art, as a means of transcending the epistemic confines of traditional art historiography while addressing phenomena that themselves had little agency in establishing those confines. The study centres on the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul and the Art-Craft Department in Ankara. The two schools were not the exclusive sites of creative practices in Turkey, yet, as the only public institutions of professional artistic training, they absorbed and trained many of the practitioners in the country. In the wake of the institutionalisation of art education after the foundation of the Republic, both schools underwent crucial transformations between 1925 and 1934. This was a period of tangible change, of composition and recomposition of the spatial and material conditions of making art. To date, scholarship has addressed these institutions in reference to the conceptual framework of traditional art historiography. This dissertation offers supplementary perspectives by drawing on social-historical and trans-local approaches as well as on Actor-Network-Theory. The investigation follows selected objectual, spatial, and human actors which engendered the work at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Art-Craft Department. Making art implies not only the creation of a work but also the conception of it as art. In the making, abstract ideas were confronted with matter and space, and vice versa. It is this coalescence of practice, conceptualisation, and empirical conditions that facilitates the study of art with the epistemic tools that emerged in its making.


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Citation Formats
M. Becker, “Making art in the early Turkish Republic : The Academy of Fine Arts in İstanbul and The Art-Craft Department in Ankara,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2013.