Year

1999

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Faculty of Creative Arts

Abstract

The subject of this thesis is the Kufic script, the oldest Arabic writing from that emerged in the seventh century with the flourishing of Islamic religion. Given the difference between writing and drawing, the Kufic style should be considered as the most akin to drawing among all Arabic writing styles. The thesis argues that compositions created in Kufic script may inspire contemporary graphic artworks produced through Roman alphabet forms. A central part of the research involves situating calligraphy within the broad framework of the Islamic religious philosophy, the evolution of graphic notions, the protestant art trends related to graphic arts and the historical development of Turkish graphic arts.

The thesis demonstrates that Turkey, at a crossing point between Europe and Asia, between West and East, between secularism and the Islamic religion, possessed a very rich art historical legacy, and was a point of synthesis. Oscillating between two broad tendencies represented by the East and the West, an innovative artistic response to history is neither a total denial of the past by adopting a blindly radical reformist approach, nor an obstinacy in preserving old forms. This thesis offers a positive approach by giving examples of m y own graphic synthesis of old Kufic script compositions, which are part of the Islamic culture, and the Roman alphabet forms, which represent the transition to modernism and Western culture. The thesis argues that this double cultural legacy may be crucial in our pursuit of contemporary art, combining a rational perspective with insights into a rich and conservative tradition.

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