Mehmet Tuzum Kizilcan

Artist Statement

Is the diversity we see when looking at the ceramic world a multivocality realized through free will or an attitude arising from difficulties....? 

I began to examine what I perceived were the attitudes changing in time. During the periods when ceramics existed it was the product produced for a function: meeting the needs of the human beings who adopted permanent settlement. Of course, these were impacted by the geography where they lived, living conditions, climate conditions, the available raw materials, and even religion. The raw material deposits (natural reserves) varying according to each region played a leading role in forming the production type in that region, and so the differences within each region were inevitable. The accumulation of technical knowledge brought significant differences in production in its wake. The diversity of clay, firing methods, decoration methods and utilitarian functions were the prominent factors in making differences and regionalizing the product.

Today, varieties of ceramic art are driven by function, technique, material, and concept, and viewed dualistically as art and craft. Different criteria gain importance in planning each production. All positive values coming with the globalizing environment in today’s ceramic world are used, as are the things required for making the best product and these go beyond regional knowledge and material.

As a ceramics producer and ceramics artist I first examine which material, method and discipline can present, in the best possible way, the ideas I seek to realize. I select materials and after specifying the method of creation I research whether I can acquire the materials that I cannot provide. The materials we use today are raw materials which come ready for use. We use these materials as their qualities are defined by their manufacturers, marketers, and distributors.

While many artists are using these clays and glazes as they are purchased, other artists personalize their materials. These are personal preferences inegrating the ability of the artist with his or her research. Today, you can do endless studies through the virtual environment; You can reach every culture in the world and collect methods and technical information. But working with a traditional material, if you perform ceramics its value is in its statement rather than its newness.

The ceramics reaching us today from the past still exists. This notion is preservationist and I feel it is wrong to call it “art” ceramics, and perhaps “craft” is more appropriate. Of course, it is possible to benefit from the traditional attitude: it is an eternal resource and always referenced. The artist internalizes what he/she learns from tradition and conveys it through his/her own style.

When an artist forms their own methods, the artist is finding a personal language for self-expression. This long, processional training occurs with research and experience. The talents of a person and things learned play a significant role in forming the personality. The environment we grew in takes effect here, and our visual memory is recording from the moment we exist. The first application is made to this center during the examination and then the examination continues. The things that we recognize and could not perceive, because we do not know, become clear. This unites with our personal development and starts to be our own language. This moment brings the search required for self-expression. When I started to read myself, I experienced the happiness of knowing that pottery would be my language; how the design, production and product triad would become rich for the life and it would give me a chance to be always active.

-- Mehmet Tuzum Kizilcan


Born in 1941, Mehmet Tuzum Kizilcan started working in ceramics as a hobby in 1959 in Füreyya Koral’s Workshop Istanbul. Then, after leaving his studies in Electrical Engineering at Istanbul Technical University, he worked in Eczacibasi Taylan Ceramic Factory before enrolling in the art department at Werkkunstschule Offenbach am Main, in Germany. He graduated in 1965.

After working as an artist at Gorbon-Isil Ceramics Factory in Istanbul, Kizilcan established his own ceramics business in 1968 and has since directed his own company (SERSA), while also working & exhibiting as an artist and lecturing at Ege University College and Dokuz Eylül University as part of the Fine Arts Faculty for Ceramics and Traditional Pottery.

Kizilcan has held 22 solo exhibitions both in Turkey and abroad, 45 group exhibitions, and has presented dozens of workshops both local and International. He is the creator of “EGEART”, a board member of the International Ceramic Artists Association, and a member of both the UPS (International Plastic Arts Association) and the Turkish Ceramics Association.

Kizilcan has been awarded numerous international awards and his work is represented in collections and museums throughout the world. He continues to pursue his passion for ceramics and porcelain in his own studio workshop in İzmir.