Since the early 1960s, Burhan Doğançay examines the social, cultural and political transformation of modern and contemporary urban culture through the use of walls. As an urban traveller, he has been tracking walls in various cities across the world for almost half a century. With the guise of an anthropologist, Doğançay examines these surfaces that are open to all manners of contemporary interventions ranging from posters to slogans, and messages with sexual content to newspaper clippings. Doğançay’s works with different techniques and styles, are positioned in both a historical and contemporary ground through their incorporation of the icons of popular culture and political symbols.
Fifty Years of Urban Walls: A Burhan Doğançay Retrospective stands as an anthology for Doğançay’s last 50 years of work. With works that range from small sized pieces to big canvases, and installations that run beyond the walls, to various materials and pursuits, this exhibition unrolls the background to Doğançay’s ways of working. The exhibition gathers together 14 distinct series and periods of time with works coming from different collections all over the world. The accompanying catalogue presents 125 images along with explanatory texts, which provide different perspectives to his ouevre while documents and photographs on Doğançay’s life alludes to his urban traveller identity.
Munich based publishing house Prestel will be printing and distributing the catalogue worldwide, allowing Dogançay’s works to access a broader viewing public. The curator of the exhibition, Levent Çalıkoğlu maps out the artist’s body of work spanning over 50 years in his essay entitled, The Recording of History and the Anatomy of Walls. Brand new essays by Brandon Taylor, Professor Ermeritus of History of Art at Southampton University, and Richard Vine, Senior Editor at Art in America, as well as explanatory texts on each series by the writer, editor and graphic designer Clive Giboire all examine the techniques Dogançay has developed and integrated into his practice.