Dor Guez: The Sick Man of Europe

15 Sep 2017 – 29 Oct 2017

Event times

Tuesday-Sunday 11am-7pm

Cost of entry



Istanbul, Turkey


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With this exhibition Guez examines the cultural history of several states in the Middle East through the stories of artists who were recruited to the army and took part in various 20th century wars.


Dor Guez's solo exhibition at DEPO Istanbul, comprises the second of the five-part project, "The Sick Man of Europe." The project includes works in various media such as video, installation, photography, scanogram, and sound.

"The Sick Man of Europe" is a term taken from the end of the 19th century to describe the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and "The Sick Man of Europe: The Architect" focuses on the story of Kemal P., an architecture student who was recruited to the Turkish army just after he graduated in the late 1930s. A two-channel video installation focuses on thirteen of Kemal's photographs from 1938 that document the Turkish Republic's Victory Day Parade in Ankara in August of the same year, and the funeral of the republic's leader, Kemal Ataturk, that took place a few months later. On one channel we hear the story of Kemal P., the architecture student, while he narrates the photographs, commenting on the documented sites and events. The second channel shows sketches of the architectural setting that surrounded those events. By focusing on the buildings, monuments, and squares such as Atatürk Forest Farm, Zafer Square, Güven Park, and Ulus Square, one can track the architectural changes that took place in Turkey during its transformation from Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic. Parallel to documenting the historic evolution of Turkey, a story of friendship unfolds in the photographs shown in the video between Kemal P. and his friend Ahmad.

The video begins with an historical story about the Turkish Republic's "architect" Kemal Atatürk. In 1929, Atatürk traveled by boat from Istanbul to Bursa. Along the journey down the coastline of the sea of Marmara a plane tree captured his attention. He was so enamored by the tree that not only did he build his private residence adjacent to it, but when the tree's branches grew too close to the building, threatening to damage its windows, Atatürk chose to move the mansion rather than alter the tree. 

The exhibition also includes hundreds of photographs of uniformed men (i.e. soldiers, policemen, scouts) in military parades, army camps, field training, studio poses, and group, couple, and individual portraits, which were collected through the years by Kemal P.


Yael Messer

Exhibiting artists

Dor Guez


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