Fading Away


The idea of ‘a photographed image becoming permanent’ that was birthed from the discovery of Camera Obscura, marks the starting point of the artist’s work. Şen, with his own narration of found photographs, brings news life to the images that were on the edge of disappearance and fading. The exhibition takes its title, ‘Fading Away’, from the withering of the images. The negative films and found photographs, re-interpreted and reproduced, were derived from the archives of Foto Kandiye, Foto Turan, and reflect the events of student ceremonies, institutional health inspections, societal sorrowing, instances of destruction, and ‘orphan’ portraits. The artist brings today’s audience in dialogue with the photographers who, at the time, documented scenes of war, illness, celebration, family, and tradition. Şen, who aims to convey the concepts of urban awareness and human psychology through photographs of individuals, instead of various construction visuals which were previosuly the main subject in his ‘Wet City’ series, now mostly procudes his work by using technique of wet collodion as well as various other antique photography methods. The images therefore often travel between the positive and negative, black and white, lightness and darkness. The artist, well aware of such journey, slows down his own process, drawing attention to the intricate and detailed ways in which the final artwork is produced. Referencing the identityless persons in the composit photograph series by H.P. Robinson titled ‘Fadin Away’, the portraits become reimagined subjects whose stories we wouldn’t have been ever known. What is crucial for the artist here, is that beyond all faces in the portraits being of anonymous individuals whose life has passed, the tangible photographs themselves go through a form of metapmorphosis in time, becoming sickly and worn out pieces.

‘What must be done by the artist, at this point, is to show what not has been seen before, and build a level of awareness. Yusuf Murat Şen presents the audience with images which aim to startle at first sight, or at least, create a moment where the viewer may develop a response.’ says Fırat Arapoğlu, and further adds; ‘Yusuf Murat Şen, well aware of this finding, recreates the images with different code systems. Unique descriptions of pain and destruction are now evaluated on another axis. The artist therefore shines with his unconventional way of thinking which gives way to a rare method of making art. And this, exactly - in my opinion - is at the top of the many special qualities of Yusuf Murat Şen as an artist.’ ‘

‘Fading Away’, is a celebration of the orchestration and uniqueness of the photographic image. It presents the power that the photographer holds when recreating a moment of truth, and the power of the photograph itself to show the meaning to the viewer at the hidden corners of the shot. The mysterious journey that sprung from inside the envelope proves to be, due to the nature of the medium, a constructed arena for mourning. Mourning begins with accepting what is lost, and is supported by telling the story of the journey of those hidden within that loss.’ - Ezgi Bakçay