Selected reviews


Seeking Oneness


The young photographer Irem Sozen keeps a diary, an emotional journal, you might say, where her bedside reading seems to come right out of The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa, observer of the infinitely small space of the inner world. Attending to the outer world's forms and colors, the photographer, recreates an intimate universe more truthful in her reconstruction than the real. 

She especially enjoys working in series. For her, this represents a way of working "every bit as important as the shots themselves." Her attempt is to tame memories, to switch them around, to resituate them to give them an alternate life in sorting and repositioning them in another context. Perched in front of the printed image, she tries to trace--while accentuating its "magic," she would call it--a feeling whose roots find their source in the past while taking itself lightly and harvesting that laughter upon discovery of an alternate self. 

This taking apart is in order to give back, with the focus not on rupture but on this other self no longer dispersed. She becomes the contemplator of another world: her own. 

We can theorize that the series already completed are extremely unified--thanks to the photographer's technical rigor--and that they develop episodically elaborating a specificity through projects that are like but not identical each to the other. The photographer is also quick to point out --with fluttering emotion, like first proofs— her inner world displayed in the line-up of fictional beings. 

Neither cookbook nor academic in her approach, she rather describes a personal visual world without repeating themes. Irem Sozen's series include no more than twelve images in which each photograph retains its autonomy. 

Musing over identity and the terrains of intimacy, alternating between everyday chronicles comprised of landscapes; haloed life itself; portraits; and inner gardens displayed in all their excess and ability to seduce and move us, just as photography itself exerts the power to move us inwardly--a site of renewed transition between kingdoms, sometimes unarmed, and of a vast coherence in viewpoints, distance and a singular way of writing. The unfolding of this series, titled "Recall," is completely clear and fluid, a kind of nakedness that is both visible and the undoing of visibility. 

Her photographs are not so much a dress she wears, unnoticed until after the shot is taken, become that vast clarity of the outer world, the mirror of inwardness. 

"The sun who sees us all, the moon who scatters the peaceful earth with shadows, the great spaces flowing out to the sea, the trees' great dark mass rocking under their green heights, the whole above, the static quietness of pools in gardens, shadowed paths descending, beneath archways of vine, the short slopes of the valleys," wrote Pessoa. 


Nathalie Gallon 

Independent curator 


*Text written originally in French, for the exhibition 'Six Personnalités en Quête d'Intime', curated by Nathalie Gallon, Galerie François Paviot, Paris, 2014


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