Belgin Bozsahin, Talking sculptors, about our innate bond with nature

Belgin BozsahinExclusive Interview

Before you were a painter, what has made you become a Sculptor?
I don’t particularly call myself a sculptor but someone who uses materials, especially clay/porcelain for the last 12-14 years to make her 3-dimensional works. During my foundation course, I was exposed to various materials such as wood, metal, fabric, paper. After years of painting in oil, it was so exciting to experiment in different materials and discover their language to make work. It was an exciting time in my creative journey. I did not analyse it so much then but looking back; I see it now that my work was becoming increasingly 3D; what was taking place was a natural progression. I remember when I used to paint, I used to layer paint many times and tried to create an almost relief work on 2D surfaces. I think the urge of wanting to work with dimensions was already on its way before I consciously acknowledge it during my foundation studies.

Your favourite medium?
It is hard to say. I loved painting in oils. When I was working with fabric, I entirely emerged into it too. I also experienced the same feeling when I was into cutting marble, granite, Venetian glass for mosaic work. Yet for the last 12-14 years is all about porcelain. Every material has an extraordinary quality that is addictive and fascinating to work with. I don’t know if my material change again, may do, I don’t know.

What has inspired the fantastical elements in your work?
Suppose you mean fantastical as ‘imaginary, wondrous or fictional’. In that case, I am delighted you have seen these elements in my work as the inspiration is my own story. I am continually questioning what is real in this life and what life is about – Finding answers to those questions became very important; thus, my search to find them. As artists, we know and experience that what we feel inside finds expression on the outside. Therefore, for me, what takes place “inside” is the leading player. It is sometimes quiet and not so obvious, yet it is there, itis magical, wondrous and powerful and without it, what is on the surface, cannot exist.

How do you envisage your work developing in the future?
I am sure I am not alone when I say I have so many ideas of what I want to make. It is always the case for those who love creating things. The challenge is usually how to simplify things so that there is physical development in one’s work. I have not been using much of colours since I have been working with clay. It is a significant change for me not to work with colours. I want to do that more with clay, especially porcelain. Creating large scale modular works is something I always want to develop as well. There is also a possibility that I may work with mixed media and bring all the materials that I worked before together to create work that is not entirely with clay.

Your work dominates a female figure. Why do you think the woman is the right subject?
I like the female body. I think it is a fantastic, beautiful form. Saying that human form is incredible, and I like the male body too. However, naturally being a woman makes it easier for me to relate to the female one. The female figure was there since my childhood. It was the very thing that I draw over and over again and painted many times. When I look back, I see that I was searching for myself and painting young female bodies that it was expressing something about how I was feeling inside of myself. I am still doing the same yet with clay in 3D form. I am working towards a group exhibition with an eclectic mix of artists who work in different mediums and practices. Their main concern is also body, especially the female body. I am looking forward to being part of this exciting project.

I think that a part of what interests me about your sculptures is how you see your materials? Are these all things that you imagine before starting each piece or do they develop during the process?
I like working intuitively, without sketching, preparing too much beforehand. I wouldn’t say I like too much control and want to allow what fire and nature of the material created on the forms. Off course there is a thought process and imagining about what the outcome I would like to have. Yet it is mostly allowing the “flow” and the material to guide me. It is a two-way conversation which I am making my effort to hear the other side more.

How do you begin your work and creating?
If there is something personal that I want to express than I take notes, draw but mostly write on my drawings the way I think I can express the feeling I am having. If I am working intuitively rather an abstract way such as on the highly textural wall panels, than I prepare the ribbon-like strings of clay or the scale-like pieces by hand a day or two before and keep them moist so that I can work quickly on the form that I am working.

At first glance, you notice the beauty and grace of your figures, but the expressions invite further contemplation. What do your sculptures mean to you, or what do you hope a viewer takes away from your work?
We, as human beings are very complex creatures. About 30 years ago, my questioning about life and what it is that I am looking for took me to a personal search within me. More I started to feel and understanding of myself; I started the observe the difference and somewhat contrasting qualities of what is within and outside of me. As a being our experiences are vast and varied immensely. Yet even though I feel my feelings are mine and personal, they are also universal. It may seem we are very different from each other, but in fact, we are so similar. I hope my work reflects on or remind of something that they already know.

Which have been your favourite pieces you have made?
The two installations are somewhat special for me. One is called the “Sweet Dependence” and the other “Contrasting Spaces”.

What do you enjoy most about being an artist? What are a few challenges about being an artist, and what do you do to face them?
I love the process of creating something using my hands. When something resolves within me regarding what I want to make, then it is so fun. There is a beautiful flow of energy which is very satisfying. It is a kind of meditation. There are many challenges of course. One of them is not having enough time to do what I would like to do, or not knowing what I want to do; like feeling completely dry, there is no feeling of creative juices running through my veins. Doubting oneself is another one. Yet whatever it is that is challenging me; I know within me that I love being merged into creativity. I like art in all forms. I get inspired by looking, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling beautiful things. I know I have to give myself time and to pick my pieces to move on like so many of us do.

What would you like to say to new sculptors?
The most important thing is one need to be happy with their creativity. Worrying too much what the others think is hindering. Enjoy as much as possible of the creativity that is given to you and run with it. Someone once said, “FIND YOUR GIFT AND PURSUING IT TO NO END, THEN IT BECOMES YOUR DESTINY”, I love it.

Interview by Kamila Krzyzaniak

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