Artists under  the Light of Poetry

Artists under the Light of Poetry

FORMS, COLOURS, WORDS (Biçimler, Renkler, Sözcükler)
by Ferit Edgü
Sel Publishing, 169 pp., 2008, ISBN: 978-975-570-365-7

Our goal is not a history of art, it is simply to highlight the places where artists, poets and authors meet; the words and colours where they converge.

Forms, Colours, Words explores the world of artists from the eyes of poets. It refers to various books written by poets on important artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. The ideas, thoughtfully selected by Edgü from these books, give birth to new ones.

edgu_dscn6826Ferit Edgü is a prominent fiction writer and art critic. His novels, short stories and essays have been translated into numerous languages all around the world; and he is the winner of prestigious literary prizes including the Turkish Language Association’s Essay Prize and the Sait Faik Short Story Award. His previous works on art include Van Gogh 100 Years Later, Turkish Calligraphic Art, Abidin and Ergin İnan.

In his foreword, the author describes how he looks at art:

I have never looked at a still life, a nude or a landscape painting with an ideological eye. Of course I have not isolated it from its age, society or its place in the history of art; however, I do not consider these things while looking at a painting. I feel it important to mention this at the outset so the reader will not expect me to offer comments I feel I could not give.

Forms, Colours, Words begins with an essay on Van Gogh, stimulated by Antonin Artaud’s Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society. Edgü explores questions, discusses and considers Van Gogh and his works. He writes with a similar approach while analysing the other artists in his book. For example, he discusses Picasso and his art, starting from Malraux’s point of view, considering Picasso’s own words and poems written for Picasso by Jacques Prévert and Paul Eluard.

The author analyses the relationship between poet and artist throughout the book:

The relationships authors and poets had with painting gave rise to very productive effects. Notably, in France after the 19th century, philosophers, novelists and poets were almost always able to understand the works of artists in a deeper and more intimate manner than most art critics.(…) If I mostly refer to French authors and poets, this is because the author-poet-artist relationship is not as intense and productive in any other country of the world.

Scrutinizing prominent artists like Klee, Rousseau, Braque, Leger, Giacometti and Francis Bacon, Edgü discusses the meaning of art:

As I perceive how poets and authors look at the art of painting in general, or specifically an artist or a painting, I hope that we will understand that art is not simply the painting of an existing object or a piece of nature; on the contrary, it is a creation that is addition to nature.

Forms, Colours, Words is an interesting book which intelligently contemplates the relationship between art and artists, written by an acclaimed author with a deep knowledge of art.

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