Aslı Sağlam

Sculptor / Multimedia artist

Aslı SağlamI grew up in an artistic environment, so creating wasn’t really a choice but rather a daily habit of having a little fun. When I was five years old I was already drawing and having exhibitions with my mother, who is an inspirational artist. I had always been interested in many subjects with complex structure such as narrative literature, philosophy, and classical music but when I was nine years old I saw Carmina Burana for the first time and fell in love with opera. I studied singing for four years as a mezzo soprano, which led me to learn Italian for librettos and to decide to go to Italy after graduating from Lycée Français Saint Benoît in Istanbul. However, my dream changed. Opera, as a stable art form created in the past, did not feel like the natural expression of the fluidity of life that I was searching for.

 I have a good tactile memory and a strong sense of three dimensional space. I wanted to learn to work with different materials and textures and to create something that I could touch, so I decided to attend the BFA program in Sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. I worked with many different materials but my favourite was, and still is, bronze. This is because it is heavy, cold, and sharp but when modeled with skill it feels light, smooth, and warm and can represent its fluid nature. In my graduating thesis in Sculpture, the iconographic forms of Anatolia are compared both technically and thematically with ancient and contemporary references. From this research I realized that nothing is static and I wanted my sculptures to be in motion, thus I moved my production into dynamic sculptures with mechanical components. I needed to make video projections for my dynamic creations, so I decided to attend the MFA program in Visual Art and Multimedia Techniques, from which I graduated summa cum laude. I conducted an intensive research on the phenomenology of perception, conceptual movement, and the various forms and limits of the body and its expressions. I also worked in diverse art forms and media such as interactive performance, sound and video installation, in addition to printmaking and sculpture.

I participated in various international art and performance festivals, exhibitions, and workshops as a sculptor and multimedia artist, and I worked as an illustrator and graphic designer. I have a background in organization and coordination of multinational art events, and have experience working in international relations, including written and verbal communication with diplomatic embassies, artists, publishers, and foreign press.  I also had the opportunity of sharing my knowledge and experience through teaching as Lecturer in Sculpture, Sculpture Techniques, and Basic Design Studio at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Haliç University in Istanbul from 2009 to 2012.

I think the conceptual element of the work is just as important as the beauty and elegance of the finished piece. I choose the art form and media that will best convey the feeling that I want to evoke with that work. In my multimedia works,  the theme of the inadequate translation of feelings caused by differences in  socio‐cultural perceptions appears often with the use of wordplay.  I tend to  create clean forms to emphasize the message and also to give the spectator space.  This is also the reason why I often use transparency in my work. I enjoy  challenging conventional forms of thinking and am drawn to elegant materials,  striking imagery, theatrical use of space and dramatic lighting, as well as  typographic design.
On the other hand, in my sculptures and prints, I work more instinctively and  ingeniously. As for my themes, they are more emotional and self conscious and the  aim of my technique is to reflect the same sentimentality.  My approach to these  traditional art forms is to avoid mechanical process/elements, as I prefer to  preserve the whole process of the creation manually. It is more time consuming,  but it also creates a more challenging and genuine medium since each work is the  essential and the crucial product of my manual dexterity, regardless of its  excellence or faultiness, is truly unique. Therefore, the whole process of  creation and art making is fully dependent on me as each completed piece bears my  personal traces as well as its own pure nature.

I currently reside in Jerusalem, where I keep on working as an artist.