Aug 13, 2021 5:01PM

Artist YENER TORUN talks to ARTE GLOBALE about photography, space, colour and the current impact of alternative reality.

How has being an architect informed your practice now as a photographic artist?

A lot I guess. Lines, shapes, forms, colours, textures, patterns are the primary elements in my photographic works and I used to integrate all these elements while I was working as an architectural designer as well. Although I’m trying not to think like an architect while composing a photograph it is almost impossible for me to escape from or suppress some of the architectural instincts that I developed in my former career. And even though I do not consider most of my body of work as architectural photography, 90 percent of the subjects I use are architectural elements. I think that says it all.

How did you get to your current artistic practice?

It took some time for sure. I started photography with Instagram back in late 2013 and my first posts were some black and white street photographs. Actually, most of my earlier influences were from some of my favourite Instagram photographers and mostly because of those influences I switched to more minimalist, colourful and geometry-based compositions of architectural details such as windows, pipes, vents, etc in a very short time. And then the scale got larger and I began taking pictures of colourful walls or even whole façades. Later at some point, I started using models in my compositions for a more personal and artistic touch and make the scene even more unique and idiosyncratic. Just like that, step by step it evolved into what it is now in the last few years and it still evolves in a slower pace than before. In retrospect, I can see that each step moving forward and every change in direction was a result of a creative need that helped me to build my own artistic style.

What were some of your formal influences as a photographer? Music and cinema have a certain amount of influence on my work. They are probably two of my biggest sources of inspiration. That's even noticeable in some of my artwork titles. Graphic design, painting, and literature have also inspired me to a certain degree. Especially some works of the great Australian painter Jeffrey Smart has serious inspiration in a couple of my artworks. Other than that, I’m mostly self-motivated. My previous works usually lead me to a more developed idea each time and that's how I build and evolve my style.

What relevance does colour have in your art photographs?

Colour is one of the two main elements in my work (the other is geometry). First of all, when I scout shoot locations, the first thing I look for is colour. Vivid hues are the sine qua non of those dreamy, unreal, and cheerful visuals that I aim to create. One of the aspects of my works, in general, is to reflect my personality and spread some positive vibes while doing that. Colours also help me greatly in this sense.

You often say that ‘I want to show what people usually do not see’, can you tell us more about this?

It’s not only about what I see, but it’s also about how I see them. It’s a matter of perception. People usually see these structures or objects that I photograph daily. However, they don’t pay much attention because most of them are not that interesting at all. Many of these buildings are not architectural masterpieces or some kind of important or relevant structures. They are regular buildings which are happened to be painted in bright colours. I always try to find the best angles to make these buildings look more interesting than they are in reality. As a result, some of my compositions even don’t look like pictures of existing places. This unreal feel comes with shock value and that makes the images much more appealing for the audience. Showcasing the unknown or unnoticed from a unique lens is quite a satisfactory achievement on its own, but that's not mainly what I'm after. It's only the first half of what I try to accomplish. Just like any other artist I also try to express myself through my art and I'm doing that with some unusual choices that I make and the use of humor and irony in my compositions. It's a little bit more layered and profound body of work than it seems at first glance. I'm connecting with the viewers on a very personal level while showcasing lesser-known and interesting-looking things.buildings more interesting than they are in reality. And as a result some of my compositions even don’t look like pictures of existing structures. This unreal feel comes with a shock value and that makes the images much more interesting

Your urban landscapes provoke a sense of ‘alternative reality’. Dissolving the boundary between the familiar scenery and a hidden space. Like your latest series Symbiotes. How did this project start? What was the inspiration behind this?

"Symbiotes" is probably the most focused photo series I completed so far. I do not usually plan or conceptualize a photo series while I'm sitting on my desk. I'm mostly self-influenced and most of my new ideas pop into my mind while I'm outside shooting. I always try some new things and shoot my subjects from multiple angles for the most satisfying result. It started momentarily during one of these days on the field. Once I took the first picture of the series (Aloof) I knew that I had to make a whole collection. It's a special photo-series for me because for the first time I had the chance to play boldly with different angles and multiple structures and objects while maintaining the basic components of my photographic approach: colours, geometry, and humour. In this series, every object has a personality and in each composition, I'm studying the relationships between these objects with different human-like traits. I always wanted to use the 3rd dimension creatively and this relationship study of separate structures and objects allowed me to experiment on that. It was quite a hard task to find the unique angles to overlap structures and objects of different heights and shapes while keeping the colour balance intact and the composition interesting. But challenges of this sort are probably the most fascinating aspects of my work and I'm completely satisfied with the result.

Yener Torun
Ambush 2, 2019

Are you working on future projects at present?

Yes. I’m currently working on several photo-series simultaneously -which I would have never imagined that I would do because I usually prefer focusing on a single project. When I complete one project and get it out of my system, it’s easier for me to concentrate on the next one. Recently I have been quite productive and every new production helps me to develop new artistic ideas and concepts. Therefore, I have so many ideas to be realized right now. And even though I don’t enjoy working on several projects at once I have to complete them as soon as possible. Because otherwise there’s a risk of losing interest in some of those projects which may result in them to remain incomplete forever.

Istanbul 13 August 2019. This interview was first published in the catalogue of the MUSEUM OF COLOR exhibition. The third edition of the exhibition is open in Seoul until 2024.

Curated by M.T.Sacchi

Yener Torun Museum of Color © Arte Globale Limited. All rights reserved.

Yener Torun Museum of Color © Arte Globale Limited. All rights reserved.

Yener Torun Museum of Color © Arte Globale Limited. All rights reserved.

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