Naked Men Mix With Traditional Turkish Art

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Turkish Art

Anna Laudel Düsseldorf showcased “The Last Orientalist” by the Turkish artist Sarp Kerem Yavuz in a show that ended a few days ago.

Curated by Sena Çakırkaya, the exhibition deals with the political and cultural tides impacting today’s world and Turkey, the confusions surrounding identity and sexuality, and patriarchal culture. In tackling these issues, the artist meditates on the similarities and differences between the East and the West. The artist and curator, who came together for the first time in 2013 for a photography exhibition at the Istanbul Modern Museum titled “Close Quarters,” this time presented a carefully curated overview of Yavuz’s various series produced since 2010.

With the ironic meaning hidden in the title, “The Last Orientalist” features the 10-year creative journey of the artist, who, throughout his career, questioned representations of masculinity in the East and the West based on his own homosexual identity. Putting forward an ideological perspective on the art history of both territories, Yavuz reverses the language and techniques used in orientalist paintings of the Western world, where painters would portray the East the way they imagined it to be.

Sarp Kerem Yavuz explores his culture, gender and history based on his personal history, as well as the individual stories of others, with the ‘Substitutes For My Father,’ ‘In the Closet,’ ‘Maşallah,’

and ‘Curse of the Forever Sultan’ series, and he critically, boldly, and ironically examines his surroundings.


Specifically in this online gallery, in the ‘Maşallah’ series the artist uses traditional geometric designs and Iznik tiles from the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the Topkapi Palace as well as other iconic monuments from the region, employing a vast archive of decorative Turkish arts as his source material to take a stand on the identity definitions of the region. In these photographs, the naked male form that was historically never depicted in Islamic art comes to light under the Iznik tile motifs. His most widely exhibited series to date, the series has earned Yavuz the New Artists Society Award in 2014, the Palm Springs Photo Festival Emerging Photographer Award in 2016, and the Leslie Lohman Museum Artist Fellowship in 2019.

Anna Laudel accepts visitors by appointment as part of the preventive health measures for a safe gallery visit. Please contact the gallery at +49 211 902 269 62, and +49 1514 142 33 08 or email to make an appointment for a visit. For online appointment and further information on the health measures please visit

*Exhibition catalogs for Sarp Kerem Yavuz have been published by Anna Laudel, please contact the gallery to obtain one.

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