Posted in Erotica, Exhibitions / Openings / Signings, Eyecandy, Photography by Suzanne on February 23rd, 2012 | BBC Wikipedia
Like Thieves at Midnight by Nazif Topçuoğlu, c-print, 121 x 210 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge
Ah, I missed the glorious opportunity to tie this post in with my recent article on Hisaji Hara - it would have been a very smooth and insightful transition as both Nazif and Hisaji sure are experts in the complex inner workings and psychopathologies of Balthusesque girlhood.
Nazif has a particularly great eye for all those (mind) games girls play and he uses the anachronistic form of the tableau vivant as his artistic modus operandi and way to study these games.
They're not too overcrowded tableaux though so every single protagonist becomes an integral part of the plot. The girls strike pathos-laden meandering poses reminiscent of distant art history - to mind come motives such diverse as the Pietà, the Deposition from the Cross, the Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Salome, even the Raft of the Medusa, Liberty Leading the People and famous death scenes from Jacques-Louis David’s Marat to Henry Wallis' gorgeous Death of Chatterton. I could go on. I want to go on as this is exactly what makes Nazif's work so very rich but I'm afraid I'd never get to an end.
The Turtle Charmer by Nazif Topçuoğlu, c-print, 167 x 120 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge
The details of the scenes are staggering too and always spot on: We see seductively parted lips, extruding collar bones, golden glowing skin - youth doesn't come much more beckoning than as it's captured in Nazif's work.
It's also fascinating to observe that his group scenes never seem staged, but narrated; his girls are never exposed but embedded; they are not vulnerable and exploited but self-conscious and very much in charge of the scene - in one sentence: They have definitely grown up.
In a way, it could be argued that Nazif is just as much a director or a choreographer as he is a photographer because getting these nuances right is something that has a lot to do with understanding every single bone and muscle of the body and face - and that's also precisely what gives his tableaux a very painterly, very warm, very intimate, very incarnate and very baroque atmosphere.
I know it's probably rather unlikely you are in the United Arab Emirates right now but if you ARE, do go check out his very comprehensive solo show at Green Art Gallery in Dubai until March 5. Details below.
Introspection by Nazif Topçuoğlu, c-print, 120 x 168 cm, 2010 - click to enlarge
On show: Jan 11 - Mar 5, 2012
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