Anatolia, c. 1960
Greatly inspired by Turkish folk culture, Aslıer employed a variety of printmaking techniques to evoke everyday scenes in Anatolia. His early works, which are mostly in black and white, emphasize perspective and chiaroscuro—but in Germany he quickly adopted a more abstract idiom. Beginning in the late 1950s, his compositions lack depth, and figures are omitted. Seen here is his collage-like woodcut Anatolia, which depicts a village on a hill—juxtaposing symbols, traditional houses, and a mosque at the bottom; trees in the middle; and two figures at the top, all contained within rectilinear forms. This work is an early example of Aslıer’s use of color, which he applied evenly over the surface.
After studying in the Arts and Crafts Department of Gazi Education Institute, Ankara, from 1946 to 1949, Aslıer taught at a vocational school and specialized in illustrating poetry and storybooks. In 1953 he went to Germany on a state scholarship, studying typography at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich, and then continuing with Walter Stähle at the Höhere Fachschule für das Grafische Gewerbe (Advanced Technical College for the Graphic Arts) in Stuttgart, where he received his degree in 1958. He then returned to Turkey, where he participated in the development of the country’s graphic arts.