Curator | Sculptor
Recep Vardar

About the artist

Recep Vardar has exclusively been working with cork for quite a few years now taking only used wine and champagne corks. Earlier on he painted with oil-based paint and acryilcs on canvas always experimenting with new materials until he finally found this rather extreordinary material. He immediately realized that he could turn this into something. Consequently he worked less In hls ob to dedicate himself completely to this new material, Cork! There is no other artist who exclusively works with corks. So Recep Vardar has found a gap he has successfully filled. During the last couple of years he has been exhibiting his work in galleries about a dozen times.

Text: Dr. phil. Josef Gülpers, Art historian MA

Cork as a natural product

Cork! What exacty is cork? In botany cork is the layer between the epidermis and bark of trees. Most trees have only a few millimeters, e.g. the white bark of birches. A type of Mediterranean oak tree (quercus suber) however has layers of cork that measure several centimeters and are divided into annuel rings. Cork is economically interesting because it not only combines a variety of physical and chemical but also visual qualities: it is being used as floats on fishing rods and nets, to seal machines and engines, with pin boards, as cork tiles on floors, for wind instruments, as orthopedic material for shoes to construct and insulate houses as well as – and this is interesting for us – for closing bottles. What is associated with corks? Corks are soft but stable, they are a natural product and we associate warmth with them. A cork is very ambivalent just as wine that stays shut off in a bottle for years sealed off from the environment.

Text: Dr. phil. Josef Gülpers, Art historian MA

Cork as a genre

In his work dadaist Kurt Schwitters assembled things he “found” such as tickets or textile leftovers. An urinal was declared a work of art by Marcel Duchamp. Both artists wanted to provoke and question traditional art. Recep Varder does not want to do so.

In contrast to Duchamo who randomlv took objects to make them a piece of art, Recep Vardar consciously uses the suitable corks as well as colors, wire and glue. He does net ercate *objet trouve” – things that stay. The way they are and become works of art only by presenting them. Mr. Vardar chooses celberately He is nterested n certain forms and in pieces of art where the object can be included in a new artistc context. He questions the form of the material and composes something new. For this process the color of the corks is important both the original color and the reddish change in color caused through contact with wine as well as the print on the corks.

The Individual elements of the montage give up their original meaning but are not forgotten so that the spectator percalves the work in a new way. Recep Vardar’s sculptures belang to object art, a typical modern way of creation. Instead of showing objecls of everyday life, Industrially manufactured things – corks in this case – are being used as material for these art objects. This is how collages (two-dimensional) and montages (three-dimensional) come into being.

The surreallsts discovered the phenomenon that – according to Max Ernst – bringing two or several obvlously disparate objects together provokes the strongest effect. The more arbitrarily chosen the elements the more certain a new interpretation of things will happen in most surprising ways. For Recep Vardar working with corks does not meen playing with esthetic and visual effects. He does not experiment with the different possibilities of perception. He expresses his opinion. He does so with regards to people and their attitude towards an environment that is on the brink of collapse. He shows how destructive mankind is, but most of all the destruction of the world.

Titles like “Massenspaltung” (Splitting of the Masses), “Quantencomputer” (Quantum Computer), “gespaltene Verbindung* (Split Connection) show his relationship to physics. They share a similar meaning but still enable the spectator to Interpret on their own. Recep Vardar merely sketches, only gives hints, reduces to show the problems of human existence, society and reality. His work has developed constantly during the last years and is convincing because of its incredible richness of invention and stvle. The artist is immensely talented; he works intuitively and succedes in creating fascinating pieces of art. Once he gets starled by a concept, he is quided and led on by an idea: he creates frantically with magic and suggestive gower. You can sense beauty and fear as woll as body and soul, sometimes laughing out oud, sometimes screaming.

Text: Dr. phil. Josef Gülpers, Art historian MA


More information on current and past exhibitions are available on Recep Vardar’s website.



Info video (German language) on the production of “Fine Art Shirts” and “Affordable Arts” of Recep Vardar’s work “Mali” (in cooperation with the company Unicartem):


Video interview


More information