Bozlu Art Project is hosting Kazım Karakaya’s exhibition titled “Substance” between March 21 – May 20, 2023. Karakaya, while tracing the footsteps of ancient civilizations in his exhibition named “Substance,” emphasizes the fine line between craft and art as he travels through different geographies from China to Iran and Anatolia and questions the possibilities of materials in sculpture by taking inspiration from the images in our collective memory. Following the tradition, Karakaya creates a world where animals, humans, and plants are involved in an exchange without any distinction.

Kazım Karakaya’s journey, which begins with the Saz style whose roots extend to Central Asia and the Far East and travels through Isfahan and Tabriz to Istanbul, sometimes leads to the lion reliefs on the famous Ishtar Gate of Babylon, sometimes to the lion-headed gargoyles in the art of Seljuks, and sometimes to legendary animals such as dragons, qilin, phoenix, and sphinx. As Karakaya traces the Saz Style that encompasses various arts such as stone-carving, tile-making, illumination, miniature painting, book ornamentation, wall painting, carpet and rug weaving, he tries to bring together the art of cutting with contemporaneity by using metal instead of paper. Karakaya, who took the art of paper cutting to the third dimension using iron material a few years ago, turns the animal sculptures he constructed on the gallery floor into wall reliefs in his new exhibition named “Substance,” questioning the possibilities of aluminum, iron, and stone materials.

The rumi form, which consists of stylized shapes of animal wings, legs, and bodies and later turns into a vegetal motif in traditional arts, reappears as an animal’s tail in Karakaya’s sculptures. In Karakaya’s world, animals, humans, and plants are involved in an exchange without any distinction. It is not a world of special humanity but a world of eternal transformation. There seems to be a common “Substance” in the bodies of humans, animals, and leaves, as in the dragon of Shah Kulu, the creator of the Saz Style, the lion attacks the dragon, the dragon attacks the simurgh, while all being part of the same whole.

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