Salt Research
Özer Kabaş Archive

Kab013001 Özer Kabaş, İstanbul Devlet Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi, 1979 (Fotoğraf: Şahin Kaygun)
Salt Araştırma, Özer Kabaş Arşivi
Özer Kabaş, Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts, 1979 (Photo: Şahin Kaygun)
Salt Research, Özer Kabaş Archive
Artist, educator, and writer Özer Kabaş’s (1934-1998) archive is recently added to Salt Research’s artist archives and can be accessed online via

The archive encompasses a variety of material, including photographs, documents, and ephemera that shed light on the artist’s work, education, academic studies, and experiences as a faculty member at Robert College and Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts. The first body of the archive open to access focuses on his practice, education, and academic life.

The collection includes visual and textual sources from Kabaş’s student years at Robert College to his teaching career at Mimar Sinan University. Documents on Kabaş’s teaching experience at Robert College and the College’s transformation into Boğaziçi University as well as the Robert College Student Union’s publication Birlik [Union], which presents the school’s administrative, social, and cultural activities between 1968-1971, are also among the recently-added resources. Photographs and documents related to Kabaş’s works and exhibitions will be accessible soon.

Kabaş’s archive on local crafts, design, and cinema, his work on Basic Design education, his artworks and academic practice contain many topics to be researched and analyzed. This ongoing research initiated with the publication Montage or Synthesis: Texts of Özer Kabaş will continue to be developed through the recently discovered archival material.

About Özer Kabaş
Born in Mersin in 1934, Kabaş was interested in theater and sports at Robert College (1946-1957), acting in plays Köşebaşı with Cevat Çapan and Julius Caesar with Engin Cezzar. Following his graduation from Robert College’s (now Boğaziçi University) Mechanical Engineering Department, Kabaş studied at the Yale School of Art from 1957 to 1962. In 1961, he received his bachelor’s degree in painting. He was a student of artists such as Josef Albers, Bernard Chaet, Neil Welliver, William H. Bailey, Richard Claude Ziemann, Rico Lebrun, Gabor Peterdi, Sewell Sillman, Peter Milton, and Jack Tworkov. In 1962, Kabaş obtained a graduate degree in drawing, for which he received the first prize, and held his first solo exhibition at the Ross-Talalay Gallery (New Haven, USA).

Kabaş taught art history at Robert College (Boğaziçi University) between 1964-1974 and served as advisor of the Robert College Cinema Club until it was shut down after the military memorandum of 1971. He received the first prize with his 16mm film İstanbul Hatırası [Memory of Istanbul] in the 1st Hisar Short Film Competition in 1967. He also served as director of the Social Hall and organized several exhibitions and conferences for students. Kabaş, together with painter Altan Gürman, sculptor Ali Teoman Germaner, and architect Erkal Güngören, was one of the progenitors of Basic Design education at the Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts, where he began to teach (part-time) in 1971. In the same year, he founded Urart Art Workshop with his brothers Mehmet and Vedat Kabaş and pioneered modern jewelry design. In 1974, he joined the teaching staff of the Academy and left Urart shortly after.

In 1976, Kabaş participated in the group exhibition Painters from Istanbul at the State Fine Arts Gallery (Ankara), together with Altan Adalı, Ali Teoman Germaner, Seyyit Bozdoğan, Mehmet Güleryüz, and Altan Gürman. He focused on encountering the fluidity and variability of the sea with oil paint; he turned to the relationship between the sea, labor, and individuals. The sea shaped his artistic practice and occupied an important place in his life.

In 1976, Kabaş received his doctorate degree from the Basic Art Education Chair at the Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts. His dissertation, All-Environmental Realism: An Overview of the Formation of Plastic Arts from the Perspective of Communication and Cybernetics Theories, was informed by fields of study such as Gestalt theory, Basic Design education, and information aesthetics. In 1980, he submitted the thesis titled Communicative Approach in Basic Drawing and Design Practices Specific to Plastic Arts for associate professorship. In 1985, he was appointed as an associate professor at Mimar Sinan University, Department of Painting, became a professor in 1990, and served as the Department Head from 1991 until his passing in 1998.

Salt Research Art Archive
Salt Research’s archival collections encompass over 2,000,000 unique digitized resources on “Art,” “Architecture and Design,” and “City, Society, and Economy.” Focusing on the history of art in Turkey after 1950, the collections on art bring together visual and textual sources from various institutions, including museums, artist initiatives and foundations, in addition to archives collated by artists and curators and material related to historically significant exhibitions. They also incorporate artist archives, including Ahmet Öktem, Altan Gürman (in collaboration with Arter), Cengiz Çekil, Gülsün Karamustafa, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Moni Salim Özgilik, Mustafa Altıntaş, Kutluğ Ataman, Nur Koçak, Sabiha Rüştü Bozcalı, Serhat Kiraz, Tomur Atagök, and Yusuf Taktak. These are accompanied by collections related to exhibitions organized by Borusan Art Gallery, MARS Istanbul, Painting and Sculpture Museums Association, Proje4L, and Mine Art Gallery. Upcoming archival projects include the archives of Gürel Yontan and İpek Duben.