Heidi Trautmann

589 - The philosophy behind ‘Small Things’ - Nilgün Güney and her students

By Heidi Trautmann


Sitting by the window in the early morning, looking down onto the blue sea, the green hills – they are really green in Yeşiltepe – I think about the ‘small things’ I have seen yesterday at Nilgün Güney’s ‘Witches’ Cauldron’ in the Arabahmet Quarter.

Nilgün Güney is a dedicated artist and a very good art teacher. For her it is not so much the final result that is important but the road to it. It is the consciousness she trains her students to have. Her students are of all ages and come to her studio above the Studio-Café – some already for many years. In her studio – a very inspiring place – she and the students sit around a big table and talk, talk about the language of art, about projects they have done and will carry out together and they illuminate an idea from all sides democratically.

There is no unimportant view, everybody opens up for arguments. So one day Nilgün discussed with them the phenomenon ‘small things’.  We all go through life with a goal on our mind, focusing on big things and so we overlook all the small things on our way. Life has become a supermarket. Following this basic understanding Nilgün and her students tried to transpose the idea into an art project. There are forms at hand daily, shapes that are available, what can we do with them, how can we make an interesting composition with them.

So the one student took various geometric four-sided figures cut from carton and brought them into a relation; the other used the same forms but painted them and gave them depth by adding shades; still another brought colour into it, warm and cold colours so the depth was determined by the colour. One student had used a plastic form as a stencil, you know the plastic frame that holds six alu tins together, and the result was astounding. There were also non-geometric forms, leaf like, put next to each other in different colours. 

I like the way of Nilgün’s teaching, it is a tribute to life, focusing on the simple things in life and still be happy. Using attention and care to small things will create a feeling of quality, or said with simple words: A potato and an onion prepared with love can make a delicious meal.


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