‘A Mountain Tale’ by Yıldız Moran at Istanbul Modern
In a new exhibition titled “Yıldız Moran: A Mountain Tale,” Istanbul Modern Photography Gallery presents the works of Yıldız Moran, Turkey’s first academically trained woman photographer who lived between 1932 and 1995. Moran, who was active in the 1950s, is one of the most important photographers to have emerged from Turkey.
The artist dedicated 12 years of her life to photography, from 1950 to 1962, and greatly contributed to the photographic approach of generations that followed her.
In the opening ceremony of the exhibition held on Nov. 23, Istanbul Modern Board Chair Oya Eczacıbaşı noted that Moran was Turkey’s first professional female photography artist with an academic career, saying, “When we look at Moran’s life and the timeless frames she left behind in our history of photography, we can really imagine ourselves in a fairy tale. Among the works of Moran, who has had an active career of nearly 12 years, are the ones that have never seen before.”
She said that Istanbul Modern displayed Moran’s works for the first time in 2015 in a collection exhibition.
“After her works that were donated to our museum during and after that period, the works in this exhibition were also included in our collection. I would like to express my gratitude to the artist’s son, Olgun Arun, and his wife, Nazlı Arun, who donated 93 photographs of Moran. I also congratulate them for their visionary approach to keep the archives and heritage of the artist alive,” she said.
Anatolia in particular
In her photographs of Anatolia in particular, Moran carved a unique area for herself by interweaving love of humanity, artistic sensitivity, and photographic intuition. This impressionistic aesthetic laced with lyricism is the most important feature of Moran’s photographs, in which she carefully merged the people she photographed with the land they inhabited.
Encompassing not only the approach to photography of her period but also the new artistic views of our age, the artist anticipated the photographic perception of our time years before it took shape.
Today, her photographs attract the attention not just of photography experts, but also of art enthusiasts in Turkey and worldwide.
Black and white photos
Curated by Merih Akoğul, the exhibition “Yıldız Moran: A Mountain Tale” brings together 86 black and white photographs taken over the course of 12 years on a variety of subjects, including nature, abstraction, portraits, everyday life, Anatolia, Istanbul, and places abroad.
Some of these photographs are seeing the light of day for the first time. The number of photographs featured in the exhibition also serves as homage to the artist, who would have been 86 years old today if she were alive.
Akoğul described her as a significant figure of photography in Turkey.
“Yıldız Moran is like a majestic mountain in the history of Turkish photography, covering the Republican period. In order to appreciate her sublimity and truly comprehend the scope of her merits, one needs to look closely at her life and her works. Moran’s photographs have the power to transport the onlookers into the magical atmosphere of a mountain tale. The mountain is a geographical formation, which people watch in awe, on whose summit they desire to stand, and behind which they believe they can safely hide. And just like all other objects in the universe, the mountain chooses to show one of its many faces according to the intention of its onlookers. Moran’s photographs are admired by photography enthusiasts who have been looking at them with interest and curiosity from the time they were taken to the present. Turkish photographic art owes Moran a great debt of gratitude for teaching its practitioners an alternative language imbued with a profound love for humanity,” he said.
The exhibition can be seen until May 12, 2019.