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Dor Guez – The Sick Man of Europe: The Architect
15/09/2017 @ 11:00 - 29/10/2017 @ 17:00
15 September – 29 October 2017
Curator: Yael Messer
Dor Guez’s solo exhibition at DEPO Istanbul, comprises the second of the five-part project, “The Sick Man of Europe.” The project includes works in various media such as video, installation, photography, scanogram, and sound.
“The Sick Man of Europe” is a term taken from the end of the 19th century to describe the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Guez uses it to examine the cultural history of several states in the Middle East through the stories of artists who were recruited to the army and took part in various 20th century wars. Like in previous parts of this ongoing project, this exhibition relates to an individual who stopped creating work once he became a soldier.
“The Sick Man of Europe: The Architect” focuses on the story of Kemal P., an architecture student who was recruited to the Turkish army just after he graduated in the late 1930s. A two-channel video installation focuses on thirteen of Kemal’s photographs from 1938 that document the Turkish Republic’s Victory Day Parade in Ankara in August of the same year, and the funeral of the republic’s leader, Kemal Ataturk, that took place a few months later. On one channel we hear the story of Kemal P., the architecture student, while he narrates the photographs, commenting on the documented sites and events. The second channel shows sketches of the architectural setting that surrounded those events. By focusing on the buildings, monuments, and squares such as Atatürk Forest Farm, Zafer Square, Güven Park, and Ulus Square, one can track the architectural changes that took place in Turkey during its transformation from Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic. Parallel to documenting the historic evolution of Turkey, a story of friendship unfolds in the photographs shown in the video between Kemal P. and his friend Ahmad.
The video begins with an historical story about the Turkish Republic’s “architect” Kemal Atatürk. In 1929, Atatürk traveled by boat from Istanbul to Bursa. Along the journey down the coastline of the sea of Marmara a plane tree captured his attention. He was so enamored by the tree that not only did he build his private residence adjacent to it, but when the tree’s branches grew too close to the building, threatening to damage its windows, Atatürk chose to move the mansion rather than alter the tree.
The exhibition also includes hundreds of photographs of uniformed men (i.e. soldiers, policemen, scouts) in military parades, army camps, field training, studio poses, and group, couple, and individual portraits, which were collected through the years by Kemal P.
Dor Guez was born to a Palestinian and Tunisian-Jewish family in Jerusalem, and now lives and works in Jaffa. His work has been displayed in over 30 solo exhibitions worldwide, including the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem (2017); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2016); the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2015); the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2015); the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Massachusetts (2013); Artpace, San Antonio (2013); the Mosaic Rooms, Centre for Contemporary Arab Culture & Art, London (2013); and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2010). He has participated in numerous important group exhibitions, including shows at the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (2016); the North Coast Art Triennial, Denmark (2016); Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina (2015); the 17th, 18th, and 19th International Contemporary Art Festival Videobrasil, São Paulo (2011, 2013, 2015); the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2014); Cleveland Institute of Art (2014); Triennale Museum, Milan (2014); Centre of Contemporary Art, Torun (2014); Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2014); Maxxi Museum, Rome (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011); and the Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2010).
Minority Archives and Ethnography of Nationalisms: Israel’s Dor Guez-artist profile