Zeki Kocamemi

Who is Zeki Kocamemi? (1900-1959)

He completed his primary education at Hadika-i Meşferet Mektebi. After his secondary education, he enrolled in Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi in 1916. He first became a student of Hikmet Onat and then İbrahim Çallı. When he had to go to the military in 1918, he took a break from his education for a while. He returned to school in 1919 and graduated in 1922.

While he was a student at the Academy, he participated in the 2nd Galatasaray Exhibition; He had the opportunity to exhibit his works with his teachers. Being among the founders of the New Painting Society; He also laid the first foundations of the Independent Painters and Sculptors Union, which would be established in the future. However, this initiative, which reflects the excitement of the Republic spirit and aims to bring a different breath to the art environment, was limited to a single exhibition. It ended with each of the community members going abroad on scholarship.

In December 1922, he went to Munich with the scholarship given to the artist by the Turkish Hearth. Like Ali Avni Çelebi, Ratip Aşir Acudoğlu and Kenan Yontunç, who went to Munich a few months before him, he first started taking painting lessons at Heinemann’s private workshop. About a year later, when he took the exams of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts and failed, This time, he started taking painting lessons at Hans Hofmann’s private workshop. Hans Hofmann, who started his art education in Munich, settled in Paris in the first years of the 20th century, when modern movements were diversifying and taking shape.

Influenced by the arts of Henri Matisse and Robert Delaunay, the painter produced works in cubist and expressionist styles. In addition to the artist's works titled Potted Stool, Posing Nude and Otakçılar, which he created in the Hofmann workshop, his drawing titled "Nude Reading a Newspaper" dated 1926, which is today in the collections of Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul State Painting and Sculpture Museum, is most likely an example of the works of this period. This pattern, with its cubist and sculptural approach, is among the first examples of Kocamemi's interest in the subject of nudes.
Zeki Kocamemi, who was appointed as an art teacher at Trabzon High School in 1928, remained in this position for about a year. Bedri Rahmi Eyüpoğlu, who had the chance to be his student while he was a high school teacher, expresses his memories of his teacher as follows: I will never forget Kocamemi entered the first lesson with a Cezanne book. He showed us a few reproductions and said: 'Look how the children are spinning.' He wanted to tell us about the famous French painter's understanding by saying "it revolves around". We understood what he meant by this later, when we saw the decorations he made for the Eşber Play performed by the senior high school students. The castle, bastions and trees that formed the backbone of the theater decorations were spinning around. All the objects that came out of Kocamemi's brush had a front, sides, top and back. All of them were in the space with all their weight. There could not be a better example of the complete understanding of sculpture in painting.
The artist went to Rize in 1938 as part of his Country Tours, and then visited Konya in 1944 because the works collected as a result of his country trips were circulated in Anatolia. The painting titled Tea Agriculture in Rize, which he painted during this period, technically resembles Cezanne's landscapes.

Zeki Kocamemi received the first prize at the 1st State Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, in which he participated with the Independent Painters and Sculptors Association, with his painting titled Atatürk's Funeral Ceremony or (Atatürk's Body being Taken from Gülhane Park to Sarayburnu). This painting has a more classical effect compared to Mekkare Privates. The perspective given with the landscape in the background and the construction of the space are reminiscent of the paintings of the 15th century Renaissance artists.
The artist, who participated in many exhibitions with Müstakiller, joined Group D in 1947. The artist, who took a break from painting from 1951 to 1959, started painting again some time before his death, but died on May 3, 1959, as a result of a sudden illness.

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