BOOK OF THE MONTH

23.08.2017

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Knowing the large format used for exhibiting this series, as seen, for example, at the Halle Atelier de la Mécanique during the Rencontres in Arles, the size of the publication is rather surprising. The leporello measures just 11 x 13.8 cms, the size of a Turkish passport. It contains 17 pictures.

The Berlin photographer has been working on his series dedicated to the construction of new mosques in the overflowing suburbs of Ankara and Istanbul since 2014. They represent a visible sign that could be construed as Turkey’s transformation from a secular state to a religious state under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There are around 75,000 mosques in Turkey. Since 2003 when Erdogan became Prime Minister, continuing through the following years up until the controversial implementation of a presidential system, the country has seen a veritable boom in the construction of new houses of worship.

9000 mosques were built between 2006 and 2009 alone, and another one thousand appeared during each of the following years. In addition to the bridges, airports, shopping centres and living areas commissioned by Erdogan, mosques in particular are supposed to represent signs of national economic growth.

Many of Behrendt’s motifs show the newly built mosques in areas that are still barren: city districts are still to be developed around them. While the photographer takes a neutral standpoint in his series, many of the new constructions appear rather displaced. As a result, the images shown of the city point even more firmly to the religious-political changes that have taken place in Turkey over the last twenty years.

The small book comes with a selection of two cover versions that imitate the Turkish passport: in contrast to the red one, the green passport already offers more ease for obtaining an EU visa.
Ulrich Rüter

Norman Behrendt
Greetings from Turkey
17 pictures on grooved printed sheets, 11x13.6 cm, English, Hartmann Books

Norman Behrendt

Born in East Berlin in 1981, Behrendt studied graphic design and photography at the technical college in Potsdam. He has been working free-lance since 2012. He became particularly well-known for his Burning down the house (2007–2012) project, which earned him first place at the 6th Photo Book Dummy Award in Kassel. The postcard book Greetings from Turkey presents a selection from his still to be completed Brave New Turkey project, that will appear as a larger publication next year.

www.normanbehrendt.com
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