Ara Güler, a renowned photojournalist, skillfully captured the spirit of Turkey and the wider world. The exhibition titled “A Play of Light and Shadow” presents a captivating display of both well-known and lesser-known pieces from the artist’s body of work. This exhibition stands as a testament to Turkey’s vibrant history while offering a glimpse into the ever-evolving Turkish identity.
Foam is delighted to present the summer exhibition, “A Play of Light and Shadow,” paying homage to Ara Güler, one of Turkey’s most legendary photographers. Through his evocative black and white photographs, Güler’s deep affection for Istanbul and Turkey shines through. This exhibition is a close collaboration between Foam, co-curator Ahmet Polat, and the Ara Güler Museum.
The exhibition provides an opportunity to delve into both iconic and lesser-known aspects of Ara Güler’s oeuvre. As a celebrated photojournalist, he captured the essence of Turkey and the wider world. Divided into four sections—The Iconic, The Historic, The Ambassador, and The Personal—the exhibition immerses visitors in Güler’s photographic journey, showcasing his iconic journalistic work alongside his remarkable experimental pieces. “Ara Güler: A Play of Light and Shadow” stands as a testament to Turkey’s rich history and provides a glimpse into the ever-evolving Turkish identity.
Accompanying the exhibition is the publication titled “A Play of Light and Shadow,” featuring contributions from various specialists in the field. Hannibal Books serves as the publisher for this publication, which will be available at Foam and select bookstores.
The Ara Güler exhibition serves as the centerpiece of Kısmet, an initiative developed in close collaboration between Studio Polat and Foam. This multi-year project takes inspiration from the longstanding cultural, diplomatic, and economic ties between Turkey and the Netherlands. Kısmet explores the diverse and intricate facets of Turkish visual culture, offering insights through the lenses of different generations of image makers.
The Ara Güler Museum and the Ara Güler Archives and Research Center
The Ara Güler Museum and the Ara Güler Archives and Research Center were established through a partnership between Ara Güler and the Doğuş Group. The mission of the Ara Güler Museum is to share Güler’s versatile artistic identity, his inspiring life, and esteemed archives with the widest possible audience. The museum aims to highlight and promote the visual, emotional, and social impacts of his photography through local and international exhibitions, publications, events, and collaborations. The Center works diligently to preserve the artist’s archives in the manner established during his lifetime, ensuring his legacy is passed on to future generations. In addition to the photographic archive, the collection includes Güler’s cameras, darkroom equipment, books, diaries, correspondence, personal items, and art collection. The Ara Güler Archives and Research Center undertakes tasks such as digitization, indexing, classification, conservation, and restoration of the archives.
About the Author
Ara Güler (1928-2018) was a prominent photojournalist and a driving force in Turkish photography. Celebrated as the “Eye of Istanbul,” his poignant black and white images depicting the city’s inhabitants, streets, and docks remain some of his most renowned works. Throughout his illustrious career, Ara Güler immortalized numerous famous artists and political figures.
Ara Güler: A Play of Light and Shadow
from 23 June – 8 November 2023
Foam – Amsterdam – Netherlands
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