We have lost Sadi Diren, our dear ceramicist, professor and craftsman.
Sadi Diren was born in Istanbul as the only child of his family and he completed his secondary education at St. Michel. His family wanted and wished for their son to be a diplomat or lawyer. He studied at Law School until the second term and after that, he listened to his inner voice and chose to enroll in the State Academy of Fine arts after voluntarily dropping out of the Law School. The fact that he started to make ceramics in the Academy, in a place that is difficult to be described as a studio, shows how passionate he is towards art.
The only student of the studio, Sadi Diren began his artistic journey in 1952, by overcoming impossibilities with his own efforts.
At the forefront of the characteristics that also defined Mr.Diren’s artisan personality, lies his strength and determination in the face of difficulties, his courage and work discipline. He was a hard working, tireless and dynamic teacher. He was quick-tempered, he was walking as if he was running and he was always racing against time.
Upon an invitation, he went to Germany in 1955, where he worked as an artist and designer in various establishments, and this experience laid the foundations of the bond he established between art and industry in the years to come.
When he turned back to Turkey in 1964, he was appointed as a Manager to the Eczacıbaşı Factory, Department of Ornaments and Kitchenware. At the same, he started to work as an instructor in the State Academy of Fine Arts.
Prof. Diren’s critiques were full of humors… He used to storm in the studio, trigger a whirling energy and the atmosphere of the room turns peaceful in the blink of an eye. We managed to continue our education with the materials procured to the studio, thanks to the entourage of our professor.
In 1975, he resigned from his position in the industry. Between 1982-1991, he maintained his position as the Dean of Fine Arts Faculty and received the State Artist title in 1991.
My first encounter with Prof. Diren was in 1965, when I enrolled in the Ceramic studio and I had the opportunity to work with him until 1994, the year he retired.
With his wise personality and suggestions, the fact that he stated his opinions straight, his enthusiasm, honesty and compassion, he was a true role model who will linger in our memories. He always had an “enfant terrible” inside. I think it was the source of his creativity.
He launched numerous exhibitions at home and abroad, his works were exhibited at museums and he created unique works by juxtaposing art and industrial ceramics. I remember that his exhibition which he launched in Taksim Art Gallery, Istanbul in 1968, created a profound effect. The ceramics having sizes that were never seen before, shined out as works that carried an interpretation of Anatolian culture, combined with metal accessories. Most of the panels bearing the signature of Prof. Diren, which he created through an outstanding technique and artistic interpretation, unfortunately vanished into the blue. However, the wall in Istanbul’s Atatürk Cultural Center (1971), his panel in Istanbul Drapers Market (İMÇ) and his panels in the European Council Building (1960) still continue to exist. For the fact that he shaped and constituted the ceramic education, established the relation between industry and art, and contributed to the world of art, he will be remembered with profound gratitude by his students and colleagues. Today, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Department of Ceramics, owes Prof. Diren a debt of gratitude for its existence and continuity. By working together for over 25 years, we have collected unique memories. These memories enriched my life. I believe that his art and doctrines will live through us and future generations.