10th year: ANAMED offers ‘Photographic Exploration’ to visitors

The Koç University Research Center on Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED), founded in 2005 to develop and facilitate research projects dedicated to the history, art, architecture and archeology of Civilizations in Turkey, has held many diverse exhibitions in its historical place of Merkez. Han on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street since 2012. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its exhibitions, the center launched a new photography exhibition on February 24 featuring the work of artists Bruno Vandermeulen and Danny Veys. “Intersecting Past and Present: A Photographic Exploration” remains open at ANAMED Gallery in Istanbul until October 17.

'Tawny Landscape' from 'Intersecting Past and Present: A Photographic Exploration'.  (Courtesy of ANAMED)

In the exhibition, produced with the support of the Vehbi Koç Foundation, Yapı Kredi Editions, KU Leuven, LUCA School of Arts and the Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project, Vandermeulen and Veys focus on the ancient region of Pisidia, which includes the provinces now known as Isparta, Burdur and Antalya. The works in the exhibition, based on the simultaneously published photobook “The Turtle Came Alone One Day”, were shaped around the work on display at the center “(in)site Sagalassos The Archeology of Excavation Photography”.

The exhibition includes photographs created by Vandermeulen and Veys on black and white film in reference to the past and in homage to the first photographers with a large format analog camera, as well as 19th century photographs and albums of the Ömer M Koc Collection. While the director of the Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project, Jeroen Poblome, sets the historical framework with his texts for the exhibition, the director of the Meşher Gallery, Bahattin Öztuncay, helps place the photographs in the exhibition in the context of the exhibition with its explanations of the experimental shooting and printing techniques used by the artists.

'Sagalassos Ağlasun' from 'Intersecting Past and Present: A Photographic Exploration'.  (Courtesy of ANAMED)

Danny Veys and Bruno Vandermeulen in the Pisidia region.  (Courtesy of ANAMED)

Can a landscape bear witness to a distant past? What does it have to do with today? One of the main themes in contemporary photography is the “man-altered landscape”, where the transformation of the landscape by urban expansion is documented. In this sense, working with the concept of “landscapes modified by history” for “Intersecting Past and Present: A Photographic Exploration”, Vandermeulen and Veys study the historical layers of a landscape and the influence of temporal continuity on the spatial dispersion. In their work, which has continued since 2008, they approach the landscape, which, shaped both by millennia of geological processes and centuries of human intervention, as a medium of exchange between the present and the past, and their photographs explore the boundary between absence and presence. The works reveal that humans interact with the landscape, carving roads, building settlements and cities, blending constructions into the landscape, and exploiting the topography to their advantage. Settlements can even become cities; cities can crumble and disappear under layers of dust.

Among the techniques used by the artists are vintage processes such as albumen, salt prints and classic gelatin silver fiber prints, but also screen prints, UV prints and photopolymer prints. Exploring the photographers’ perspective on the “history-altered landscape” around the Pisidia region, where they went and slowed down the image-taking process in image-making to discover a point of view just as if they were turtles discovering the earth, you can visit “Intersecting Past and Present: A Photographic Exploration”, combining history, archaeology, nature and topography, at ANAMED.

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Michael E. Marquez