Fulden Sara-Wissinger
Fulden Sara-Wissinger

My heritage is European mixed with Byzantine and Seljuk-Ottoman Culture.
I grew up in Istanbul, a cosmopolitan melting pot with 15 million souls. In the broadest sense Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul bridges the Mystical East and the Pragmatic West. As a person of mixed culture, I am fascinated by other cultures. Living in one of the worlds most exotic cultural crossroads created in me a delight for such diversity, and a hunger to venture into the world to experience ever more.

I attempt to reflect this in my work by fusing together visual elements that have opposing qualities thus creating harmony out of dissonance. Circumstance dictated that I live in a very controlled closed environment for much of the time. With two working parents, no close relatives, and few friends I spent much of my time alone overlooking the magic below, the chaotic jostle of customs, cultures and religions rubbing against each other.

Some of my most vivid memories are of emerging from my sheltered home to walk hand in hand with my parents through Istanbul’s world famous Bazaars. I became swiped up in the sensual soup of sights, smells and sounds,
a magical world far removed from my seven story perch. It has taken quite some time and living half a world away for me to realize just how profoundly this dichotomy has shaped me.

After a decade working as a graphic designer I decided to turn my visual skills toward exploring what I am about and how my past has affected me. Quite by accident and very much to my surprise, I found myself gravitating to clay.

For me clay most directly captures fluid energy while requiring patient methodical manipulation. This in itself stands as a metaphor for the East West push and pull of Istanbul. I prefer to make wall pieces that use my 2D sensibilities. My pieces mix motifs from past cultural references with my graphic design background. Thus a strong graphic style tends to produce focus on crisp geometry, which then is mingled with the Arabesque fluidity of “Turkish Calligraphy”. Strong texture against clean edges creates a sense of tension. I view this juxtaposition of rigid geometry and animated organic as a metaphor for the interplay of opposing forces that enlivens Turkish Culture.