Innerscapes by Nazif Topcuoglu at Green Art Gallery

© Nazif Topcuoglu, The Hunger, c-print, 124 x 143 cm, 2011

The arts and culture calendar in Dubai is in full swing this month. There are several exhibitions and events worth attending over the next few weeks and I will be posting all the details on this blog soon.

First up is a new exhibition at Green Art Gallery, one of the older and well established galleries in Dubai. It's been around since 1995 (yes, contrary to what many people think, we've had art galleries in this city before the 2000s).

Innerscapes by Turkish photographer Nazif Topcuoglu opens on 11th January and will run till 5th March 2012. His photos look very theatrical and looking forward to seeing his work in person (and hopefully meet him as well, I believe Nazif Topcuoglu will be at the gallery on the opening night).

Known for his highly staged theatrical works typically featuring young girls living in lavish period backdrops, Nazif Topcuoglu’s photographs take on a nostalgic view of youth. While in his works, like Proust, he does not glorify a certain-definite- “past” era, he nonetheless implies a yearning for one’s own youth or an imagined “golden age”. The way in which we as humans rate our experience as valuable is through moments that are imagined, be they in the past (half-remembered) or in the future (not yet realized).

© Nazif Topcuoglu, Like Thieves at Midnight, c-print, 121 x 210 cm, 2011

This idealization of youth however, goes hand in hand with an overall sense of sadness and desperation felt by the artist. With the encroaching global problems facing the youth today, wars, famines, economical downturns, a hope for a better future becomes an idealization in itself. Topcuoglu, who is part of the generation who participated in the major upheavals the world faced in the 1960‘s, maintains that the sense of hope, of a view of changing the world experienced then, seems desolate and almost obsolete today.

© Nazif Topcuoglu, Introspection, c-print, 120 x 168 cm, 2010

The young female characters depicted in his works have grown up in this very context and are now facing the various adult issues of the day. Like a modern day Alice, they may be opposed and frustrated at every turn, but they are mostly dissenters not collaborationists, speaking up against the way people insist on the rightness of their conventional ways of doing things. Like in the Alice stories, these girls raise the voice of common sense against the arbitrary rules and unjust commandments of the grown-up world. It is for this reason that when looking at Topcuoglu’s seemingly ‘pretty’ images of attractive girls, the viewer nonetheless cannot help but sense a disturbing tension at what lies beneath.

© Nazif Topcuoglu, Magic Carpets, 2010, C-print mounted on foam board, AP2, 116 x 175 cm


Exhibition details:

Dates: 11th January - 5th March 2012.

Opening Reception: 11th January 2012, 7 – 9 pm. 

Location: Green Art Gallery, Al Serkal Avenue, D28, Al Quoz (location map

Freen entry.

[Images and text via Green Art Gallery]