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Directory Maker of the Week: Cos Ahmet

Cos Ahmet's 'Points of Juncture' at Forty Hall Estate is on until 22 October 2017

Our Directory Maker of the Week, Cos Ahmet, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires him and his favourite part of the making process.

Who or what got you into making?

There was never anyone specific that got me into making as such. I almost didn’t study art, so making the realisation that art was one thing that excited me, and had a passion for, was the biggest motivator in pursuing it as a career. 

It wasn’t until my Foundation Art & Design diploma that textiles and the ‘making process’ would fully present itself to me. At the time, I was trying to decide whether I was more fine art or sculpture. I liked both, and knew I wanted to incorporate three dimensions somewhere along the line. My tutors had other ideas and thought I would be more suited to textiles. I however, was not convinced until I encountered textiles and the weaving process. I soon realised that I could fulfill all of these aspects, but in a completely new form. Making this link ticked all the boxes. I began exploring this new tactile language and wanted to learn more.  Eventually I pursued my degree in Constructed Textiles, where woven tapestry became my specialism. My approach to making takes the traditional and practical methods of weaving, and combines the other disciplines I employ in my practice to turn this quiet and meditative medium, typically associated with the domestic, and the subtlety of a craft usually reserved for intimate, detailed work, into challenging, visceral and thought provoking works.

Could you please tell us a bit about your work?

I happily work across a number of disciplines, that include textiles (woven tapestry), collage, printmaking and sculpture. It places my work on the edge of fine art and craft. It has been described as ‘art, with a lot of craft’. 

The core of my work is centred around the body. Recurring themes of self, identity, sexuality, gender and memory, are emotive features in much of my work, displayed as a complex set of body dialogues. Shaped by my use of metaphors, the body becomes symbolised through various interlinks – points of juncture - where body and material respond or react with each other. These responses come to light in the diverse processes and characteristics of my practice that range from woven tapestry and works on paper, to sculpture and objects. I like to make loose connections with their attributes to represent parts of the human form.

What are your inspirations?

Like many practicing artists I look to other artists for inspiration, and not necessarily textile artists. I find that detaching my inspiration from textiles artists and focusing on sculptors and fine artists gives me a wider view. I am especially drawn to artists whose subject matter involves or suggests the human form in some way.

Many of my recurring themes concern self, identity and sexuality. The sole thread of inspiration is the body; I become the subject of my work. The ‘bodily’, ‘internal’ and ‘organic’ also feature as textural annotations, suggestions and references, commenting on the complexities and the vulnerability of the body, furnishing my work with a visceral quality, provoking a reaction, making you think and contemplate your own vulnerabilities.

What is your favourite part of the making process?

I tend to enjoy the experimental stages of a work or project, and making samples and playing with various materials is where the works begin to find out ‘who’ they are. It is that initial testing ground where an idea is put through its paces to see if will actually work.

I rather enjoy this process and sometimes find it a more exciting part to making the finished article. You become immersed in the ‘play’ with materials and come across things that you never had in mind, or are surprised by unexpected results. I tend to work intuitively, so am no stranger to letting things just happen, and prefer it to be this way rather than being too prescriptive, or planning a piece.

For me, many of the samples I create never make it any further than that initial stage. Some become ‘small works’ in their own right. The ones that don’t make it tend to serve as inspirations for other ideas or projects, or are never revisited, and that’s okay. It is part of the process.

What are you working on right now?

Well, I have been working towards my new one-man exhibition ‘Points of Juncture’ at Forty Hall Estate which opened to the public on the 27th of July and will run until the 22nd of October 2017. This is my largest exhibition to date, running for a three-month period. Forty Hall Estate is a Grade 1 listed Jacobean House built on the edge of London.

‘Points of Juncture’ comprises recent works and specially commissioned pieces that draw inspiration from Forty Hall’s textile history. The title ‘Points of Juncture’ stands for the thread of ideas and the connections of the works that are presented in this exhibition. They look at self and identity, linking both my work with the ‘material identity’ of Forty Hall – a place built upon a textile legacy, by its former owner, Sir Nicholas Rainton who traded textiles across Europe.

‘Points of Juncture’ is commissioned by Forty Hall Estate with support from the Arts Council England.

View Cos Ahmet's Directory profile.