A Pillar of Smoke features work by artists and photographers who, from Diyarbakır to an Istanbul slum, from Trabzon to central Anatolia, document today’s Turkey, a multi-faceted nation of obvious contradictions. The project began as a reflection on the creation, dissemination and reception of various kinds of images and art works in the context of what Turkey is presently going through.
Since the failed coup d’état 2016 and the purges that followed, censorship and self-censorship settled deeply in Turkey. Which role can visual arts play when freedom of expression is constantly challenged? When the official discourse tries to mask or distort reality, a new relationship to facts and truth emerges. What can images say, denounce or reveal through their rough, realistic or allegorical dimension?
Today, Turkey’s artists, journalists and intellectuals take risks just by doing their jobs. This show pays tribute to those who continue expressing themselves despite conditions of extreme adversity. Initially conceived for the Rencontres photographiques d’Arles 2018, A Pillar of Smoke is shown here in a renewed version. The exhibition is presented simultaneously on display at Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival (Xiamen), from November 23rd to January 3rd».