The artist, Tardu Kuman, was born on February 3, 1958 in Bursa (Turkey). He studied History of Philosophy at Istanbul University. After graduation in 1985, he went to Paris. Between 1985-87, he exhibited the jewelry he designed at Gallery Epona in Paris. In 1989, he moved to Athens, Greece. In Athens, besides jewelry design, for the first time, he started to craft used iron, traverse and wood pieces to create large-scale artistic objects. The objects that he created from used raw materials were exhibited in Athens Gallery Tria and Gallery Miraraki. He started to sculpt in 1995, after he returned to Istanbul. Stoa Design studio, which he established briefly after his arrival in Istanbul, allowed him to live and work as an independent artist. For twenty years, he continued to make sculptures while building furniture with his authentic style. Apart from his studio in Istanbul, the home and workspace he personally built in Kozlu village in Ayvacık, Çanakkale, was the special place that became a source of inspiration for his work.
Tardu Kuman, created his sculptures always from scrap and found materials, crafted large and unrefined pieces and emphasized Classical philosophy as the basis of his work: “In philosophy, the repetitive reinterpretation of the same concepts goes back to ancient times. So, does the existence of wood and metal in our lives; the material is always the same, but you can always express something new with that same material.” In addition to expressing the new, the artist also aimed to show and evoke in the viewer the everlasting historical imprint engraved on the form and structure of the material.
The usual first step he took before starting on sculpting a piece would be to collect parts that inspired him. For the most part, he made his sculptures from machine parts, iron plates, chains, nails, beams, wooden poles scrapped from urban life, and other wooden parts he collected at scrap dealers. The interaction his work went through when faced with wind, water and heat in their natural habitat, he considered to be a part of the sculptures’ life span. It is possible to witness this interaction most intensely in his series “Pagan Sounds”.
His works consist of the series “Pagan Sounds”, and “Lamponia Warriors”, and other Untitled sculptures. In December 2015, right before he fell ill, Tardu Kuman was planning the exhibition of the pieces included in “Pagan Sounds” series. The illness forced him to take a pause in this initiative. Before he got a chance to make the exhibition come to life, on May 19, 2016, he passed away. “Pagan Sounds” series has been exhibited between September 15th – November 22nd, 2017, within the scope of the 15th Istanbul Biennial’s neighbouring events programme.
Translated by Canan Ergüder