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Manuel Çıtak – islomania
May 12 - July 8
Opening: Thursday, May 12, 18:00
Manuel Çıtak‘s solo exhibition islomania, takes its name from a condition of “island intoxication”, which writer Lawrence Durrell first used in his book Reflections on a Marine Venus (1953) and defined as an illness. According to Durrell, people afflicted with this illness step into a state of intoxication that is difficult to describe, even by knowing that they are on a small world surrounded by the sea. Decades after Durrell’s first use of the term, “islomania”, which is not yet included in the official Turkish dictionary, has transformed into a word that also defines the mood of people who are overwhelmed by urban life and have started to live closer to nature by escaping the city and standing against ecological destruction. Curated by Refik Akyüz and Serdar Darendeliler from the Geniş Açı Project Office, islomania consists of Çıtak’s recent photographs which present a new stylistic and narrative search in his photography that was closely associated with black and white documentary style so far.
The works in Çıtak’s first solo exhibition, islomania, can be grouped as landscapes of untouched nature showing its grandeur and highlighting the sense of “isolation” on the island; photographs in which people or other creatures, who seem to undertake the task of help determining the scale in vast spaces, watch nature, and time “stands still”; close-up “catharsis” photographs of people in nature who are aware or not aware of being photographed. The color element and wide panoramas, which have not been seen much in Çıtak’s previous works, contribute to emphasize being in nature and add a new dimension to his photography. In islomania, based on the similarities he came across on a couple of islands, Çıtak is in a quest that also transforms himself. He is no longer only an observer but reflects an emotional state that he shares as well. Lives that are isolated from everything, plain but impressive geographies, the state of being right in the heart of nature and surrendering to this tranquility permeate all the photographs in this series, whether they are of uninhabited spacious landscapes or of people who commune with nature.
Manuel Çıtak lives and works in Istanbul. He completed his education at Lycée Français Saint-Michel, Istanbul and Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Department of Graphics. Since 1985, he has been producing in various fields of photography, such as urban life, portraiture and environment. Çıtak, who independently as a freelancer carried out photo essays and editorial works for various media organizations, took part in many group exhibitions. Some of these include: Shared Sacred Sites (Depo, 2019); People Attract People (Istanbul Modern, 2016); Three Cities One Coffee: Cairo, Istanbul, Vienna (Milli Re Art Gallery, 2015); Production Fault (9th Istanbul Biennial, with Hafriyat Group, 2005); Musulmans au Caire, à Téhéran, Istanbul, Paris, Dakar (Parc de la Villette, Pavillon Paul Delouvrier, Paris, 2004); Between the Frontlines (Las Palmas, Rotterdam, 2002); Méditerranéennes (L’Atelier de Visu, Marseille, 1999); Admissions of Identity (City Museum and Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, 1998) and İstanbul – The city where faiths meet (Milli Re Art Gallery, 1996).
Geniş Açı Project Office [GAPO], an organizational and curatorial team, prioritises support for capacity building and new artistic production with the local and international collaborations it facilitates, and tries to create a sustainable network between photographers from Turkey and international cultural professionals. GAPO, with Geniş Açı Photography Magazine (1997-2006) period taken into account, has been working towards creating an independent and alternative photography-related platform in Turkey for twenty-five years.
Image: Manuel Çıtak, Aragida, 2019