Staying on the topic of nature, the sublime and timeless works by Ipek Kotan (1977 Istanbul, Turkey) are often compared to precious stones. Gems and minerals such as amethyst or pyrite can look like common rocks from the outside, but when you look inside them, you discover a magnificent microcosm; it is as if all the beauty in the universe got extracted and distilled into these little colorful rocks of shimmery, glassy or metallic crystals. It is precisely this kind of beauty Ipek Kotan is striving for.
Her pieces show an impeccable craftsmanship combined with an attitude of extreme independence. With all her rigour and stringency she creates variation upon variation of her elegant minimalist vessels. Working in dark stoneware or pure white porcelain clay Kotan varies the height and the angle of the rim or the thickness of the wall of her bowls and sands outer edges by hand until these become silky smooth, almost like marble. This perfection is striking on its own but peer inside and a new dimension unfolds. Framed like a painting in the midst of the bowl you’ll find the insides glowing with one of Kotan’s mystifying glazes. It is that delightful contrast between the inside and the outside that allows for the comparison to gemstones; the rough unpolished looking exterior of an amethyst rock and its breathtaking, rich and complex interior.
Her perpetual play with the nuances in shape and glaze is what critics have called an ongoing process of purification. The insides of the vessels have become crucial to her work. The vessel itself in all its perfection is in reality just posing as the container for the artwork within. Creating the glaze and experimenting with different materials -from molten glass to crystals - is one of her favourite parts of the process.
Kotan discovered her passion for ceramics nine years ago while in studying art and design in Rhode Island USA. She has since shown extensively with galleries across Europe and the USA while also creating works for Barney’s New York. Her work is in collections of various museums including Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Dresden and the Presidential Art Collection in Ankara.