Monday, May 4, 2015

gaze of infinity (na Paris Review)

The modern distaste for miniatures was prevalent among the educated classes, whose most common grievance had long been that Turkey never had a Renaissance—we didn’t have a Medici family to commission great art. When Mehmed the Conqueror took Istanbul, scholars and artists fled to Rome, bringing their expertise and knowledge about antiquity to Europe. As a consequence, we were taught, Turkish artists were condemned to produce examples of these boring traditional arts. Had they learned the technique of perspective from their European masters, Caravaggios and Rembrandts would’ve popped up throughout the empire like fresh daffodils.

This self-deprecating mood changed briefly in 1998, when Orhan Pamuk published a novel called My Name Is Red, which showed hundreds of thousands of bemused Turkish readers that miniature art was not only worthy of interest but also cool—even sexy—in the age of postmodernism. In Istanbul, the long history of Ottoman miniatures quickly became the talk of the town; when, in 2001, John Updike praised the novel in The New Yorker, the excitement grew. In other words, it was only when Americans showed interest in our traditional arts that middle-class Turks decided to take a closer look.

The American-founded Bosphorus University opened ebru classes where hipsters and prospective intellectuals met and made marbled papers together. A left-wing record label, Kalan, started putting out albums by traditional composers. Kids started showing interest in the ney, a kind of Middle-Eastern flute, and a heavy metal band started performing songs by Âşık Veysel, an Anatolian incarnation of the wandering minstrel. But this interest waned in the 2010s: once again, traditional arts came to be seen as unfashionable relics. There seemed to be no place for them in the digital era.

o artigo todo na PR.


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