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Two Archives, One Selection

Tracing Ara Güler's Footsteps in Istanbul

May 29, 2019 – November 17, 2019

Istanbul Modern Temporary Space, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No. 99, Beyoğlu, Istanbul


The Istanbul Modern Photography Gallery presents the exhibition Two Archives, One Selection: Tracing Ara Güler’s Footsteps in Istanbul. A collaboration between Istanbul Modern and the Ara Güler Museum, the exhibition draws on the collections and archives of both institutions to show the role of Ara Güler’s (1928–2018) photographs in shaping the public’s collective memory of Istanbul and the changes that have taken place in the city from the mid-20th century to the present.

Cities are spaces where collective memory is shaped and continuously updated. Photographic records play an important role in this continuous update which takes place with every generation. As such, photographs impact and shape the collective memory that forms the city’s identity. When it comes to Istanbul, Ara Güler’s photographs have made a very significant contribution to the construction of the public’s collective imagination and memories of the city.

Two Archives, One Selection: Tracing Ara Güler’s Footsteps in Istanbul combines Ara Güler’s photographs, which invite viewers to look at them again and again, with archival materials in order to highlight Güler’s practice, as well as his role in the creation of our perception of Istanbul. The works comprise photographs from different periods, all signed by Ara Güler, as well as various dark room prints, objects and ephemera from the archives of the Istanbul Modern Photography Collection and the Ara Güler Museum. As a whole, the exhibition aims to address the relationship between photography and photographer’s subjectivity through the works of Güler, who defines himself as a photojournalist and photojournalists as ‘people who write history with their cameras.’


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