1970-80

Oriënt & Parliament

Studio – Teaching – Engagement – Publications

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Turkish delight

1970-’71

Gets his driving licence 1 August 1970 and leaves a week later in an old 6-cylinder Dodge for Güzelyali, Turkey, a tiny yet idyllic fishing village on the Dardanelles: 20 houses, 9 boats, a teahouse and a café. No gas or electricity, a water tap somewhere on the side of the road. Stayed there for a year, made drawings and gouaches, learned Turkish and sardine fishing, crossed Anatolia and drove via Iran and Afghanistan to Lahore, Pakistan and back again.

Afterwards, never encountered a traffic situation that surprised him.

Güzelyali

All in all, it led to a surfeit of memories of Turkish baths, Persian tiling, Afghan coffee houses and Moghul gardens.

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Establishes ‘Living and Working Space Artists’ WWK foundation, and moves into a studio in Pelsterstraat, Groningen.

West & East
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The stay in Asia invited further study of non-European art and thus the discovery that the revolutionary innovations of Modernism corresponded seamlessly with ancient traditions in other parts of the world..

The conclusion was that it was not the opposition to traditions, but rather the search for interactions between various cultures that provided an interesting playing field.
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Gouache

Initially specialises in drawings and gouaches,

Oilpaint

But does not shy away from oil painting

Manuscripts

The series of Manuscripts was commissioned by the Groningen Public Library:

25 Gouaches, some of them enriched with gold leaf, based on 15 different classical Eurasian styles – 5 European and 10 Asian – and inspired by the ‘art of the book’.

The aim was to connect European with Asian traditions in which exotic styles were mixed with European views, whether in the form of a “Style Break” or not.

Occasionally, previously unknown styles emerged that could very well have existed in a particular culture.

Either way, distinctive forms from exotic cultures were merged with personal insights.

Religious themes continue to intrigue…

Just like mythological…

Gilgamesh

Also the oldest known epic in the world: the Epic of Gilgamesh (Mesopotamia, ca 2100 BC) was – just like the Revelation of John earlier – an entrance to new forms and interpretations.

Chumbaba – The Scorpio Giants – The Bull of Ishtar

The story is about the friendship between King Gilgamesh and the natural man Enkidu, their adventures and the search for eternal life.

Gilgamesh & Enkidu – Recitative – Demon

Graphics

And there is also an etching press in the studio

Etchings: Cancer – Taurus

Comics

Is editor of the Groninger BBK newspaper and publishes several articles as well as comics such as: ”Lord Underpants and the Holy War” and ”Hopman Haks”.

Counterattack: An angel in hell / King Underpants and the Holy War

And contributes to an album featuring several cartoonists: ‘Counterattack’ (following the prosecution of a conscientious objector to a fellow cartoonist).

egularly returns to the Turkish village, but also flies to India a few times and spends an intensive month in Cappadocia, Turkey, to draw the volcanic landscape. Nature here surpasses the imagination.

Cappadocia

Kizil Çukur, Göreme & Soganli

Soganli &  Çavusin

Designed corporate identity the foundation ‘Living and working spaces for artists’ (WWK), in Groningen

Archus

Develops in 1974-’75, together with Jan Kuipers and commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, the research project ‘Archus’ on alternative design methods in the interface architecture-visual arts. The aim – together with architects – is to bring imagination, ornamentation and beauty back into contemporary architecture. 

Initially, it runs smoothly (especially with architects) but finally the grant application stranded at the Arts Council.

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Minerva Academy, location Violenstraat

Minerva Academy

In 1976 he was invited to work for the Minerva Academy in Groningen, first as coordinator of the ‘Creative Pedagogical-Didactic Additional Training’, a year later as a teacher of figure drawing, anatomy, painting and Sumi-e.
In those years, Minerva was spread across many old schools in the city center, later accommodations for studios.

Anatomy

Because the current books are too static – an atlas and only focused on the man – an anatomy course is drawn in 20 episodes with – in addition to the skeleton and muscles – a lot of attention to proportion, the physical differences between men and women and to expression and movement.

Organisation

Became coordinator of the sculpture department at the Minerva Academy’s Evening School in 1979, and in that role learned all sorts of things about the tricks of sculpture.

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In 1949, the Visual Artists Scheme – BKR – was introduced in the Netherlands as a supplementary purchasing scheme for artists with insufficient income, followed in 1951 by the ‘Percentage Scheme’, in which 1 to 1.5% of a construction sum was earmarked. for art assignments. The BKR in particular ended up in the line of fire around 1970, mainly due to a construction error: purchases were made, but without a destination.

At the time, art-loving Netherlands was divided into two camps that were intolerant, if not hostile, towards each other: the ‘Traditionals’ for whom development in the arts ended with Van Gogh, and the ‘Experimentals’ for whom art began with Van Gogh. The first camp included a large part of the population, the second ruled the art world. There was no room for a middle position (both are possible).

Artists Union

Got involved in 1972 – through the efforts of the then chairman Harry Visser – in the ‘Union for Visual Artists’ (BBK), first as chairman of the ‘Groningen region’ as well as member of the national board.

Is national secretary a year later and chairman the following years (1974-’76). In these positions, regularly consults with the Ministers of Culture (Harry van Doorn) and of Social Affairs (Jaap Boersma), with members of parliament and with lower authorities on the shaping of visual arts policy.

Together with the parliamentary editor of the Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, Kees Wiese, conducts an intensive lobby in parliament on the preservation of facilities such as BKR and the Percentage Arrangements and on the creation of an infrastructure for the visual arts, aimed at achieving optimal interaction between art and the public (precisely from the middle position). Writes various proposals to this end.

Advisor

Was a member of the national Arts Council from 1975-’78.

Remains simultaneously active in the home town of Groningen, including as a member of numerous committees, councils and boards, including the provincial Culture Council and the BKR Committee.

Through the BBK, arranges financing for a Documentation Center in Groningen (with funds from the Ministry of Social Affairs for substantive experiments around the BKR: the ‘BKR Testing Ground’).

Is interim manager for the construction of the Dokumentationcentre Visual Arts Groningen (later Centrum Beeldende Kunst).

The accommodation will be the building ‘De Faun’ in the city centre of Groningen.

Studio’s

Founds the foundation ‘Living and working spaces for artists’ (WWK), in Groningen in 1976 and hunts for studio spaces, mainly empty schools in the city centre, but also the former municipal tax office, a boarding school of the deaf and dumb institute and a small warehouse.  

CBK

Building ‘De Faun’ in Heerestraat is offered through Academy Minerva. While that is less suitable for studios, it is perfect for services such as BKR, Art Loan, exhibitions and Documentation Centre.

After due insistence, the municipality establishes a ‘Visual Arts Centre’ there.

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The ‘Manuscript’ series was exhibited at the Cultuurcentrum d’Oosterpoort, Groningen, in 1979; with publication of a catalogue in which all the drawings had explanatory notes.

Policy papers

Is author of numerous policy notes, the most influential being the ‘Artotheek note’. This leads to an amendment to the Ministry of Culture’s budget in 1976. The result is the ‘TRKU’, a regulation that paves the way for the development of art lending – including a destination for BKR works – on a national scale.

Click here to open PDF: Manuscripts

Click here to open video: Güzelyali in 1980
The coast, the house upstairs, Ali Dayi’s family on the ground floor.