Scholarly article on topic 'Ceramics and Humour'

Ceramics and Humour Academic research paper on "Art (arts, history of arts, performing arts, music)"

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Ceramics / humour / humor / caricature / figurative

Abstract of research paper on Art (arts, history of arts, performing arts, music), author of scientific article — Deniz Onur Erman

Abstract The notion of humour, even though it is not clarified how and when it appeared first, is defined as everything that helps the person to have good time, the object that is the source of laughing. Humour is a product of a movement which shows differences from one culture to another, which have a global character in some occasions and situations, and which shows progress and change in time and processes. The humour products which show themselves in oral and written forms or enliven through pictorial, graphical expressions are also coincided in some examples of three dimensioned and objectified products. At this point, when the notion of humour meets ceramic material, it finds itself a new and original field in artistic and industrial productions. The element of humour is seen in many industrial ceramic products in Turkey and around the world. Many ceramists produce art works by merging ceramics and humour. Whether industrial or artistic, the alliance of ceramics and humour that merge two different disciplines with different styles of production is an interesting topic which is worth examining.

Academic research paper on topic "Ceramics and Humour"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 51 (2012) 411 - 415

ARTSEDU 2012

Ceramics and Humour

Deniz Onur Erman*

*Lecturer, Gazi University Faculty of Fine Arts Department of Industrial Design Yildiz 88 Sitesi No:167 Alacaatli, Qayyolu, Ankara/ Türkiye

Abstract

The notion of humour, even though it is not clarified how and when it appeared first, is defined as everything that helps the person to have good time, the object that is the source of laughing. Humour is a product of a movement which shows differences from one culture to another, which have a global character in some occasions and situations, and which shows progress and change in time and processes. The humour products which show themselves in oral and written forms or enliven through pictorial, graphical expressions are also coincided in some examples of three dimensioned and objectified products. At this point, when the notion of humour meets ceramic material, it finds itself a new and original field in artistic and industrial productions. The element of humour is seen in many industrial ceramic products in Turkey and around the world. Many ceramists produce art works by merging ceramics and humour. Whether industrial or artistic, the alliance of ceramics and humour that merge two different disciplines with different styles of production is an interesting topic which is worth examining.

© 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer reviewer underresponsibility of Prof. Ay§e Qakir ilhan Keywords: Ceramics, humour, humor, caricature, figurative.

1. Introduction

Humour, which is "gulduru" in Turkish expression, is a concept difficult to define and measure. The notion of humour, even though it is not clarified how and when it appeared first, is defined as everything that helps the person to have good time, the object that is the source of laughing. According to Eczaciba§i Encyclopaedia of Art, "Within the field of art, humour in general sense expresses a situation of joy. It is a property that leads to laughing in speech, writing and action, and it is defined as an ability to see the funny and the joyful in the artwork as a form of irony. Humour, which is related to the "funny" element in performance arts in addition to oral and written arts, attempts to reflect a special situation of emotionality." (Eczaciba §i, 1997). Besides the properties of being funny and enjoyable, humour has important and necessary functions for people and societies. Freud mentions about three essential social functions of humour. "Firstly, he stated that humour helps the cultural taboos, which are not liked to be spoken, to be broken and be part of the daily life without being feared. Secondly, it enhances the ability to adopt to opposite views. And thirdly, humour helps to pressure the emotions of hostility and aggression, and enhances a mild way of thinking. Humour reduces stress, assists the individual to achieve her/his goals, overcomes worries and resolves conflicts. Humour enhances the sense of leadership and makes the individual feel better in society and be psychologically relaxed." (Orken, 2010)

* Deniz ONUR ERMAN. Tel.: +90-532-323-9253 E-mail address: denizonur2005@gmail.com

ELSEVIER

1877-0428 © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer review under responsibility of Prof. Ay§e Qakir ilhan doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.08.181

2. The notion of humour and its historical development

The sense of humour is a product of a movement which shows differences from one culture to another, which have a global character in the reflections of some occasions and situations, and which shows progress and change in time and processes. Entertainment and tolerance lay at the roots of humour. Humour could found its form and continue its basic progress in almost every society, thanks to these two elements. "Humour is an important and helpful social tool for many societies. Coming from the past, in almost every society it shows its positive influences in human life. For instance for Turkish society masters and plays of humour such as Karagoz and Hacivat, Nasrettin Hoca, and Keloglan are the elements of cultural humour which preserve their value for centuries." (Yardimci, 2010, p.3).

It is not known at what the humankind laughed first. It is also not clarified when was the first time something was produced in order to perpetuate and enhance this sense and what these products were like. However when historical data is considered, it is possible to illustrate that the usage of humour in various fields has a quite old history. "In addition to the Egyptian god Bes's and Greek Satyrs', animal stories on Sumerian tablets and Egyptian papyruses, and fables can be taken as didactic and mythological examples that contain humour. The scenes and figures on the 4th century BC Italian vases and Greek comedies, the pictures of kids, pigmies and animals that the artists of Pompeii drew express mythological scenes. The pictures of the disabled slaves and dwarves that decorate ceramic cups of Hellenistic and Roman ages can be considered as the amusing figures of the mime art." (Eczaciba§i, 1997)

It is known that humorous manners were pressurized by the church to a great extent during the Middle Age. The societies under the church's pressure could not develop an understanding of humour of their own. During Renaissance, it was seen that humour served the elite; the princes were entertained by hunchbacks, dwarves and the disabled people. The determining force of humour in its contemporary sense was the Renaissance movement (Orken, 2010). The Middle Age thought which was socially, financially and politically collapsed and which had a logical structure that did not adjust to daily life, gave way to a progress in humour. "The first time that the mental feature of humour was accepted dates back to the 15th century. Nevertheless, it was not until the 16th century that its usage started to be investigated. The humorists in the 18th century are considered as the ones who were talented in using humour in artistic and literary texts. Thus, humour gradually approached its contemporary meaning." (Ongoren, 1998, s.20).

It is also seen on our land that humour has a long history in Turkish society. Rich examples of oral and written humour are seen on Turkish lands for ages. For Ongoren, humour in Turkey can be classified into different periods based on social, political and economic reasons. Fairytales of Dede Korkut and Keloglan, jokes of Nasrettin Hoca are important examples of humour of Seljuk period. The naive honesty of Karagoz and Hacivat, oral quarrels of Pi§ekar and Kavuklu are the examples of humour of the Ottoman period (Ongoren, 1998, p.52). The widespread usage of printing since the 1830s accelerated the progress in humour. Humour magazines started to be published and attracted interest in time. The newly beginning modernization movements were used as materials for humour. The year 1928 indicated a great beginning and an ending at the same time. The humorists of the New Republic started to be raised from this period on. The establishment of the Association of Caricaturists and the Caricature Museum corresponds to this period as well. During the period between 1980 and 1990, all the press started to use offset technology, coloured broadcasting started on TV and preparations for multi-channel system period were seen (Orken, 2010). Afterwards, multi-channel TV broadcasting, publication of new and various humour magazines, and the Internet accession in our daily lives resulted in a widespread usage of humour.

3.Ceramics and humour

The humour products which show themselves in oral and written forms or enliven through pictorial, graphical expressions are also coincided in some examples of three dimension and objectified products. Today, we see various materials of plastic arts such as metal, marble, stone, wood, plaster and ceramic in brand new and original art works which are given form with a humorous style. At this point, when the notion of humour meets ceramic material, it finds itself a new and original field in artistic and industrial productions.

The usage of ceramic mud in the daily life with the Neolithic Age was an important turning point for humankind. The characteristic of clay that enables it to gain strength when it is fired encouraged people to make tools, and the easiness of giving shape to clay led people to make sculptures. Humankind succeeded in meeting her/his many needs and founded the basis of industrial and artistic ceramics. It is seen in the history of ceramics that the articulation of humour did not diversify much. "Most of the ceramic works were shaped by the beliefs and for religious purposes of that period or in the theatre masks used in the Greek comedy, but they were limited with art works that we find today amusing." (Yardimci, 2010, p.33). Throughout the history the usage of animal and human figures in industrial ceramic productions, stand out as exceptions. Exaggerated modelling of the animal and human figures is frequently seen on ceramic products. This situation shows itself in the exaggerated descriptions of the limbs and facial expressions. Nevertheless, when the period of these ceramics and their artists are considered, it cannot be clarified whether these were made intentionally to add humour or resulted from the nature of these descriptions. It will be appropriate to examine the usage of humour in ceramics in two groups, namely artistic ceramic applications and industrial ceramic applications, according to various techniques and production methods.

3.1. Artistic ceramic applications

The attitude of humour within a written, oral, pictorial or graphical expression is different in many ways from its expression with a three dimensional form. This is also related to the material and the richness of its language of expression. Clay, with the easiness that it provides in shaping, its three dimensionality, its firm and resistant structure after the firing meets a humorous expression and shows itself as a different and alternative way of expression. The artist adds humour to her/his emotions, ideas or impressions and transmits them into clay. Through this way she/he produces art works in various forms such as ceramic forms, figurative works, surface works and arrangements. The expressive language of humour includes elements such as making people think as they laugh, criticizing, making attributions, exaggerating, reviewing, revealing imperfections and amusing. When these features of humour merge with the ceramic material, they gain a new language of expression with a different interpretation in three dimensions. In Turkey and in the world especially contemporary ceramists produce new art works with different understandings with the togetherness of clay and humour. Humorous elements prevail in the ceramic works "Man in the Park and His Dog", "What is a Couch?", "Whose Eye is on Whose Reflection?" by Deniz Onur Erman. (Figuresl,2,3)

Figure 1. "Man in the Park and His Dog" hand built stoneware, high fired, h=36cm, 2005.

Figure 2. "What is a Couch?" hand built earthenware, h=32cm, 2003.

Figure 3. "Whose Eye is on Whose Reflection?"hand built earthenware,average figure hight 24cm, 2001.

(personal photography archive)

'Ceramic caricatures' which can be seen with various examples in the world and which were made by caricaturist Semih Balcioglu in Turkey for the first time, are among the important examples of humour's alliance with artistic ceramic applications. Balcioglu attempted to express his caricatures with clay in three dimensional form instead of drawing them on paper for a period time in his artistic life; he started making caricatures with clay for the first time in Turkey in the field of caricature and ceramic art, and in 1965 he gave the first Ceramics-Caricature exhibition. The works of Balcioglu that started with his attempts for novelty and for getting to know ceramics material attracted a considerable attention in the arts society. (Figure 4) Sadettin Aygun, who re-interpreted some caricatures of Atila Ozer, an academician who had significant endeavours in caricature art in Turkey, is another example of caricature-humour partnership in Turkey (Figures 5, 6).

Figure 4. "Progresive Politician" Semih Balcioglu. (Balcioglu,1994,s.8)

Figure 5. Caricature by Atila Ozer, china ink on paper. Figure 6. Sadettin Aygün's ceramics interpretation. (Aygün, 2007,s.111)

Caricaturist Gurbuz Dogan Ek§ioglu describes the relationship between ceramics and humour as "We all use paper or canvas as surfaces. The work becomes more impressive when we get rid of the surface and benefit from the three dimensional features of ceramics. You can touch it; you can walk around it; the influence is altered. Two branches of art merge and reappear in a stronger form." (Aygun, 2007, p. 109).

English artist George Walker continues his art life that began with painting education, with producing ceramics which condemn the contemporary situation of the Western society and which has political references. His series of teapots are the most renowned ones in figurative caricature works. (Michaelson,2002) (Figure 7)The pottery made of caricaturized human faces, fairytale sea creatures series, totems with exaggerated figures of an American ceramist Mitchell Grafton, whose main specialization is architecture, are remarkable (Artworks, 2011) (Figure 8). Patz Fowle has painting and illustration works in addition to ceramics. She is well-known with his usage of priming and glaze in vibrant colours and his amusing ceramics composed of exaggerated figures (Fowle, 2009) (Figure 9).

Figure 7. "Denial" Ceramic teapot by George Walker, 2004. Figure 8. A work by Mitchell Grafton. Figure 9. "Bitter Blue", ceramic work by Patz Fowle.

3.2. Industrial ceramic applications

Ceramic products have a very important place in human life. With respect to their purposes of usage, industrial ceramics are indispensable in architecture, technology, objects of daily usage, and shortly in every field of humans both as a material and as a product. Industrial ceramics is a field which serves daily needs, produced serially and realizes itself according to market conditions. By the influence of the popular culture as well, it is seen that people who design and produce ceramic products in Turkey and in the world make various products by taking humorous elements into consideration. Making political references through ceramics, depicting popular persons on ceramic objects, interesting vitrified products and tiles, production of entertaining ceramic products such as souvenirs, caricaturized figures and articles, and ceramic promotion products are industrial products that illustrate the togetherness of humour and ceramics. The action of laughing makes people get closer to each other, being funny boosts a person's popularity in a social group. Laughing at the same thing, making others smile while criticising similar things and common sense of humour strengthens in people the sense of belonging to a group as well. On people who use some of the amusing objects, a sense of sharing a common understanding and belonging is created. Industrial productions need a humorous discourse. The opponent structure that humour embraces, its attitude that makes one laugh and think at the same time constitutes a broader language of expression together with the richness

of shaping methods of ceramics. In addition to this, the ceramic work/ product which is presented as an artistic or industrial production, displays its difference as well. (Figures 10-13)

Figure 10. Ceramic mug. (Martin, 2012) Figure 11. Ceramic kitchen tools. (Ceramic,2011) Figure 12. Ceramic teapots. (Forgot,2012) Figure13. Ceramic urinal. (interior decoration, 2011)

4.Conclusion

Humour as a language of expression is an influential art discipline. The language of expression of humour can constitute a new and influential discourse when it is combined with ceramics' shaping and designing utilities. Humorous expression is designed through merging it with clay. On the other hand ceramic art and its industrial productions need humorous language of expression as well. When the opponent character of humour and its attitude that makes people laugh as they think meets the richness of the shaping methods in ceramics, it can constitute a stronger language of expression. A ceramic work or a product that is put forth as an artistic or industrial production, displays as well its originality with its humorous elements. Thus, some examples of ceramics having a humorous style are seen in history. Especially today, in Turkey and in the world humorous elements are seen in many industrial ceramic products and many ceramists produce new and original art works by merging ceramics and humour. Whether industrial or artistic, the productions that come into life by the togetherness of ceramics and humour which resulted from uniting two disciplines with new production styles, is a topic which is worth examining for historians, litterateurs, humorists and ceramists. It is presumed that the widespread usage of it will be accepted and increasingly proceed in the future as well.

References

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