It was in the early 60s, shortly after his arrival in Scandinavia, that Koman forged some of his most remarkable masterpieces. This period, which the artist dubbed his 'Iron Age', marked an important turning point in his budding international career. In 1961, art critic Pierre Guéguen praised Koman's metalwork in the Parisian avant-garde publication Aujourd'hui: Art et Architecture. Guéguen made particular allusion to the artist's distinctive technique, describing his rugged iron abstractions as being "eminently expressive" (Pierre Guéguen, 'Ilhan Koman ou la sculpture abstraite pathétique', Aujourd'hui: Art et Architecture, No. 31, May 1961, in Exhibition Catalogue, Istanbul, Galeri Nev, Ilhan Koman, 2006, p. 7).
Ilhan Koman's frenetic creative process was fuelled by a desire not only to craft beautiful sculpture, but also to portray the unique quality of iron, namely its malleability. Although at first glance it appears to be the result of a chaotic struggle between metal, welding torch and hammer, Koman's forging is incredibly precise, as can be observed in the fine details of his work. These, most evident in areas where the iron is bent and welded onto the composition, are the artist's implicit signature.
The present piece embodies Koman's dramatic abstract expressionism. The raw metal has been shaped into a dynamic structure reminiscent of dissembled man mid-stride. Yet the figurative aspect of the composition is infinitely subtle and bordering on the abstract. The challenge to Ilhan Koman was in creating a sculpture that can reflect both its subject matter and the process through which its static iron medium is transformed.
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