Burhan Doğançay’s art goes to the Far East
ISTANBULOne of the most important figures in Turkish art, Burhan Doğançay’s exhibition “Picture the World” will go to Taiwan in September on the first leg of its Far East tour, after Istanbul, Ankara, Port and Lisbon. The exhibition includes photos of the city walls and human life that Doğançay took during his visit to Taiwan in 1989.
Doğançay (1929-2013) was profoundly inspired by urban walls as a means of artistic expression. Old urban walls covered in graffiti and posters interested him the most. He saw them as the barometer of society and a testament to the passage of time, reflecting social, political and economic changes, as they frequently withstood the assault of the elements and marks left by people.
While Doğançay’s artistic career began in the early 1960s, it was not until the mid-1970s that he expanded his artistic canon to include photography. As a photographer, he was an obsessive documentarian, collector and archivist.
On his first visit to Israel in 1975, he discovered the beauty of walls in photography, which inaugurated what would become his monumental photographic archive “Walls of the World.”
The archive has since steadily grown to include over 500 cities in 100 countries and well over 30,000 images. These wall photographs are not mere snapshots, but elaborate segments of surfaces, subtle studies of materials, colors, structures and light.
Parallel to the “Walls of the World” archive, Doğançay created another series of photographs focusing on the construction of skyscrapers in Manhattan, New York ironworkers and the Brooklyn Bridge during its 1986-87 restoration.
Moreover, he captured on camera typical situations, moments and people he encountered during his travels. In large measure his approach to photography demonstrated his fascination with the human experience, especially the narratives intertwined through memory, history and place.
Doğançay was the recipient of many awards, most notably the Lifetime Achievement Award presented in 1995. His work appears in numerous publications and is represented in the collections of the world’s most prestigious museums.
The exhibition will open at the Taiwan National Museum of History on Sept. 23 and continue until November.