Nuri Abaç

Who is Nuri Abaç? (1926 Istanbul – 2008 Ankara)

He was born in 1926 in Kocamustafapaşa, Istanbul. He is one of the first representatives of surrealism in Turkey. His father, a painter, was an artist at Darülbedayi (Istanbul City Theatre). He spent his childhood and youth in Mersin.

He assisted the famous painters Nurettin Ergüven and Kemal Zeren, who went to Mersin at that time. In 1944, he entered the Painting Department of the Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts. After working with Leopold Levy for a year, he changed his field and moved to the Department of Architecture. He continued his work in painting workshops until he graduated from this department in 1950. He worked on caricature, watercolor and oil painting for a while and opened his first exhibition at Mersin Community Center in 1949.
He settled in Ankara in 1960. He was among the founders of the United Painters and Sculptors Association in 1989. He started exhibitions abroad since 1967. He attracted attention with the Istanbul Exhibition in 1986, where his new period paintings were exhibited. Following the Painting and Sculpture Exhibition for which he received an award in 1981, he also received an award at the Painting and Sculpture Exhibition in 1986.

In his paintings before 1970, he reflected the mythological creatures of Anatolian culture on the canvas using a Surrealist-Fantastic style. Later, he turned to the Karagöz personality and discussed historical and current issues and events with this analogy.

He painted fishermen, bagel sellers, marketplaces, taverns, weddings, and tea gardens. He was influenced by traditional forms of expression and cultural motifs, and created a unique style by interpreting locality from a universal perspective. He opened many exhibitions at home and abroad. He won the 42nd and 47th State Painting and Sculpture Exhibition awards and the third prize at the Alexandria Biennial. He received an honorary award from Ankara Art Fair Çağsav in 2002.

It is observed that there are two different periods in his paintings: before and after 1970. During the period that lasted until the 1970s, mythological creatures and unreal characters that could only exist in dreams constituted the subject of the paintings. In the second period after the early 1970s, paintings in which Karagöz depictions were applied to daily life attract attention. While preserving the fantastic elements of the early paintings; It is observed that it tends towards a dynamism full of joy of life, happiness, fun and enthusiasm. In the paintings he made after the 1970s; It can be evaluated that elements such as sea, ship, boat and waves are frequently included and in a sense, it carries traces of the famous painter's childhood and youth in Mersin.
Abaç passed away in Ankara in 2008.

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