Gencay Kasapçı

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Born 1933, Ankara, Gencay began her studies at the tender age of three. Her art teacher had her pose in class as a model. In fair weather it was the custom of the class to go outdoors with a view to enabling the future students of art to try their hands at drawing landscapes. Gencay’s color coding, range, combination and scheme date back to those years.

She graduated from primary school in 1944, and from high school in 1947.  During her final year at the high school, one of her paintings selected among the first twenty was displayed at the nation wide exhibition of the Faculty of Letters of Ankara, which had earned her the reward of a scholarship as boarding student for seven years at Gazi University; however, she had to decline the offer upon her father’s antagonistic approach to the idea and had to enroll at the Istanbul Lycee for Girls from which she graduated in 1950 to matriculate in the Academy of Fine Arts. Having obtained her degree with honors in 1965 from the said establishment, she settled in Ankara where she opened her first solo exhibition in 1957. In the meantime she followed the courses in classical archeology of Prof. Ekrem Akurgal.

In 1959, she went to Florence on a scholarship awarded to her by the Italian Government where she studied frescoe and mosaic art under Prof. Collacichi. She was in 1960 in Rome where she established her own studio. She provided for a short while books and periodicals with pictures for such publishing houses as Mondadori and Vallechi. She designed the cover for “Barka D’Noe” book of Gianna Manzini at the Mondadori Publishing House.

Meanwhile, she attended to the studio of Japanese Artist Nobuya Abe together  with Serbian Artist Mira Brtka and Milena Cubrakovic. After very short time, this studio was soon to evolve into the haunt of collectioners and contemporary artist. This period marks the transition Period of Gencay’s paintings.

Her first solo exhibition outside Turkey was in Fondazione Ernesto Besso in Rome. She was invited to take part in art competition of Rome, Avezzano and Gubbio. She was one of the participants in the exhibition organized in Galleria Rotta in Geneva. She opened an exhibition along with other Turkish artists in Galleria d’Arte del Palazzo della Esposizione. She got a Second Prize in International Premio Gubbio Painting Competition. In 1961 she won a First Prize in the International Premio Gubbio Drawing Competition and was invited to Premio Europa in Ascona.

In 1962 he met Carlo Cardazzo in Venice and opened a solo exhibition in Gallerio Cavallino. In Milan her works were displayed side by side with the paintings of Abe, Colombo, Mondrian, Picasso, Twombly and Fontana. She was invited to take part in the Mostra dei Contrasti exhibition.

In 1963 she organized her solo exhibition in the Gallery La Salita of Liverani. She joined the group Rotella, Dorazio, Consagra, Conte, Gia Pommodoro, Castellani and Fontana. In 1964 she participated in Mostra Mercato Nazionale at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. In 1964-1965 her works were selected to be exhibited at the IV-V Rasegna d’Arte Figuratifi Roma e del Lazio organized  in Palazzo della Esposizione in Rome. During the same period she was invited to take part in the congress at Rimini of Convegna Internazionale Artisti Critici d’Arte as Turkish Artist. In 1964 she was among the 33 artists invited from Italy along with Abe, Carla Accardi, Pietro Consagra, Novelli, Dorazio which took place at Côte d’Azur, to the Deuxième Festival des Arts Platiques de la Côte d’azur. The same year she opened an exhibition at the Scorpio Gallery in Rome with Mira Britka and Frankini . In 1966 her works were displayed along with Abe, Fontana, Uecker, Burri, Afro, Arp, Kandisnski, Chagall, Braque in the gallery Il Segnıo in Rome and was invited to take part in the exhibition  of Zero Avantgarde.
In 1966 she was back home, She had to interrupt her international links due to Turkey’s internal economic and politicial conditions. She married Abdullah Kasapçı.

In 1963 – 68 she made big wall paintings produced by ceramics and mosaics for the Faculty of Architecture of the Middle East Technical University and the Kızılay Branches of Ziraat Bank and Şekerbank in Ankara.  Also, she produced and made artworks for the Etap Marmara and Divan Hotels in İstanbul and the İş Bank Headquarters in Ankara by using the glass evil eye beads with different technics created by her. Unfortunately, except for her work at the Department of Architecture mentioned above, the whereabouts of these works cannot be traced. She acted as consultant and director to the Vakko Art Gallery in Ankara in which she enabled many a young talent to make a name.

In 1983 she established the art gallery Mi-Ge. The years 1994-1995 saw her monumental works ‘Liberty’ and ‘Orange Tree’. She was the Art Adviser of the Galeri Replika in Istanbul.
Gencay is the first artist that made use of glass beads in her  artistic productions. The multicolored glass beads that she had kilns manufacture for her contributed to the enhancement of her art. The table she produced using beads in 1958 was purchased by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to be diplayed at the Turkish Stand in the Brussels Fair. The same artwork which she produced for the hotel Divan disappeared during the restoration work of the hotel.
Today a good many people are engaged in the production of beads exported abroad. Gencay’s works illustrate today the postcards of UNICEF, TEMA and TAP.