Anna Laudel Contemporary, Istanbul
The practice of Sarp Kerem Yavuz aims to challenge perceptions of Islamic culture by generating alternative visual representations of its rich history and tradition. In his photography series Maşallah, he uses a projector to superimpose traditional geometric patterns from mosques and Turkish baths, onto figures in darkness.
Depicting people is taboo in Muslim culture, and the photographs serve as simultaneous acts of blasphemy and reconciliation. He presents bodies in an Islamic context as objects, sometimes eroticized, often vulnerable, and almost always, anonymous. The superimposition of the patterns inevitably shapes the body they land, re-defining body parts as well as faces, and bringing up broader questions about identity and representation.
As a French-Turkish artist who immigrated in 2009, Sarp Kerem Yavuz specifically chose the United States due to lack of freedom of expression Turkey provides. Over the past decade, he has personally witnessed and often continues to experiences the growing anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiment of the U.S.
He intends to present his latest pieces from the body of work in New York, at a time when the very spirit of immigration that shaped America is contested, with the hopes of inspiring new conversations around xenophobia and immigration.