Young Sculptor Mert Ergün, who produces works using marbles from Turkey, aims to transfer the traces of experience of natural stone to future generations by blending it with his own interpretations in his current works. We talked to Mert Ergün, who has made natural stone indispensable for his works since the first moments of his professional life, about his current works, his relationship with the material, sources of inspiration and the effect of natural stone on his sculptures.
How did your interest in sculpture begin? Can you tell us about your story?
Mert Ergün: When I was a kid, I used to collect stones and build towers from them, then break them down. Since then, I have loved to shape things by hand and make drawings. I used to collect different stones that caught my attention from the places I went to and bring them home. These stones sometimes resembled a face, sometimes a living thing; but what interested me more were the crystals and colored veins in the stone. Although it was an inanimate object, it resembled the capillaries found in living biological creatures. Later, as I produced and learned works, I saw the reflection of the universe in the stones. What drew me to this was my desire to learn. As I learned, I progressed and became more curious. I didn’t start because of my interest in sculpture art. What I call interest makes it simple; It was a great desire that came from within and that I wanted to express. When I made my first sculpture, I created it without knowing anything about the sculpture. It was plaster cast and quite thick. After I started to break the mold with the Murç and the hammer, I had cramps in both my hands. All I had in mind was to get him out. I took the Murch and hammer with bent fingers and continued to sculpt the mold. When it was over, I just looked at it and watched. At that moment, I decided to devote my life to art and the sculptures I was going to make.
What are the sources of inspiration for your works?
ME: The sources of inspiration for my works can be anything. I don’t like to limit myself. In order to go beyond, I research and read. Because the artist knows no boundaries. I know that every work can be a work when it reaches a balance within itself. Sometimes this is balanced in harmony, sometimes it is a balanced form in contrasts. While creating my works, my aim was to produce works that would carry a part of me that I internalized more. After all, everything in the universe is for the use of the artist. It is there for him to use.
How would you describe your relationship with the material?
ME: Every material is special in itself. So anything becomes a sculpture. You can sculpt from any material you can think of. But it is the stone with the highest degree of closeness to me. I use the stone, I live with it. There is something about it that I can see and others can feel, that attracts people. It isolates. It takes people towards their essence. It questions human existence.
We see that you give importance to marble material in your works. Why marble?
ME: In terms of durability, marble is a material that has existed for centuries. It has played a great role in the transmission of civilizations. Each vascular block is different from each other and ensures the resulting artifacts are also different from each other. As a natural material, we come across it in many areas of life. But seeing a work created with marble is different. The eye explores the surfaces of the work made. It draws the viewer to itself with its mass and structure, evoking a desire to touch. It must be carefully chipped. Carving the stone is similar to the conversation dialogues in daily life. You talk to the stone, but if you use a harsh expression, it will break. You need to whisper gently and carefully to it.
Which region’s marbles do you prefer?
ME: I use marbles that have reached me from many parts of Turkey, such as Muğla, Marmara, Afyon, Bilecik, İzmir, Denizli, Balıkesir, Eskişehir. These are special stones, each one different from the other, with very beautiful veins and patterns, giving nice surprises during the working phase. I want to use the stones from the quarries of different regions, which I have not yet reached, over time. Natural stones, which come from various regions of Turkey and have a very rich framework, will show themselves better with the works I have made and will do. Living with stones is special.
What would you say about your current works?
ME: I have a lot of work that I have designed and want to do. But each job I have designed is separate and special. This makes them a work in itself. In my recent works, I focused more on the theme of women. I went a little deeper and examined the mother goddess “Cybele” form. Of course, everyone knows this form. But anytime we look, we see something new in it. Just like any work. I have produced new studies by using the knowledge ingrained in the genes of Anatolian origin, by by today’s language. The information in this form, which is ingrained in the memory of the society, will be recognized by the present and future audience. Some emotions and myths are transferred from for generations society with different expressions. In short, the audience will not only see the works that I have done and will do, but they will also recognize the existing information in it.