Tayfun Serttas, young artist from Instanbul born in 1982, presented some of his recent works at the Bibliothèque Kandinsky, library of research of the Centre Georges Pompidou.

The meeting was organized as part of the program promoted by the library that focuses on the theme of newfound archives and the use of it in contemporary artistic practices.

All Serttas’ work focuses on the recovery of memory of no-Muslim community in his hometown, where he’s still living and working. This activity is deeply linked with practices borrowed from urban and social anthropology, focusing on cultural heritage, on minorities and on strategies and social policies developed in them. Its recourse to the archive, especially the photographic one, is a midst to reconstruct the memory of places and customs that, otherwise, would be lost. Main source of his work, the archive is also the “aesthetic” model of installations that come out: they’re, just as an archive, heterogeneous material compositions, ranging from objets trouvés to letters, from sculpture to photography, without excluding drawings and video.

Through these reconstructions the Turkish artist wants to critic the “memory laws” of modern society and offers an alternative channel of knowledge and preservation of memory as opposed to official history.

During his speech at the Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Serttas presented three projects from three photo archives, to turn into the reconstruction of Pera’s history, a Greek – Armenian district of Istanbul. The rediscovered and opened archives concern two personalities: Osep Minasoglu, photographer documenting personages and nightlife of the district, and Maryam Sahinyan, a photographer that for over 50 years made ​​the demographic portrait of Pera.

At the end, Serttas explained the project “Cemetery of Architects “. This research was conducted with the aim of restoring some traces of Greek and Armenian architects’ buildings in Istanbul, destroyed during the first decades of the Ottoman Empire and the begin of the Republic of Turkey. The result is an installation that recalls an American style cemetery, where on each white gravestone are reported names of all involved architects.

Aware of the importance of memory and, at the same time, of the preciousness of sources, as a true archivist, this young artist produces new visual archives, bringing back to life other existing and unfortunately forgotten ones.

Alice Ensabella

link: http://tayfunserttas.com/index.html; http://tayfunserttas.com/works/cemetery_of_architects.html; http://tayfunserttas.com/works/studio_osep.html

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