»For Birds’ Sake«
Cemre Yeşil & Maria Sturm
Opening: Friday, May 20, 2016, 19h (Facebook Event)
Exhibition: May 21 – June 18, 2016
Opening hours: Thu-Sat 16-20h, and by appointment
Wheelchair accessible: No
Goldfinches are gregarious birds, considered ubiquitous in migratory terms, which means that they can follow a north to south migration pattern, which is traditional in birds (not men), or they can be nomadic or even sedentary.
The sedentary goldfinches prefer countries around the Mediterranean Sea. When the rest of the species fly towards the North of Africa after the mating period, the sedentary ones become nomads and move through their territory.
The most common are the linnets, known for their red-blackish mask. Another very numerous variety is the greenfinch, with a green-yellowish tone.
Their song is cheerful. While mating, they perform a varied chirping; and while they fly, they tinkle.
Because of their beauty and their singing, they are considered cage birds, which means that men have always wanted to own them.
Goldfinches that are brought up in captivity have a life expectancy between 8 and 10 years. It is not known how long they live in nature, although it is known that the ones born in their natural habitat have a more beautiful singing.
During the mating season, their singing becomes even more beautiful, because the call for the female has to be heard above the call of all others. It’s competing.
From time to time, it may happen that, without them knowing, their exalted call in stead of attracting a female, finds it’s receptor in a male of a different species, or a group of males. They will gather around a covered cage and listen to the bird’s song, captivated, moved by it’s roaming love song.
That goldfinch song will govern their lives. They will learn to value it, they will appreciate it’s nuances, they will put it into music; it will be like a lullaby transmitted from fathers to sons.
The photographers Maria Sturm and Cemre Yeşil take a subtle approach to this relationship between men and birds, full of contradictions between passion, love and pleasure.
The exhibition reunits fourteen photographs by Sturm and Yeşil who have portrayed a practice rooted in the Ottoman Empire which has been adopted by Turkish men for centuries: the keeping of songbirds.
Having met in during a month-long residency at Atelier de Visu Marseille and workshop with Antoine d’Agata in 2012 Cemre Yeşil and Maria Sturm kept in touch ever since. Their permanent exchange led them to start a collaboration and in 2014 they have photographed “For Birds’ Sake”, a work about the Birdmen of Istanbul. This work was recently published as a photobook by La Fábrica Madrid and featured in Colors Magazine, The Guardian, British Journal of Photography and ZEITmagazin among others. It was exhibited during Internacional de Fotografia de Cabo Verde, FotoIstanbul, at Daire Gallery and La Fabrica Madrid and was a finalist at PHE OjodePez Award for Human Values 2015.
Maria Sturm was born in 1985 in Ploiesti, Romania and lives in Germany since 1991. She is currently based in Berlin and Providence. Maria received her diploma in Photography and Media from University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld in 2012. Maria has won several prizes including the New York Photo Award 2012 and the DOCfeld Dummy Award Barcelona 2015 with the work “Be Good”.
Next to working on personal projects and commissions Maria also worked as a freelance producer for Vice Germany in 2015. She’s currently doing an MFA in Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design and therefore received a Fulbright and a DAAD scholarship, as well as a RISD Fellowship, a Graduate Division Fellowship and a GS grant.
Cemre Yeşil is a Turkish photographer based in Istanbul and London. Her BA is in Photography and she holds an MA in Visual Arts from Sabanci University. She is a current practice-based PhD student in London College of Communication. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She was nominated for the Paul Huf Award 2014 of Amsterdam Photography Museum FOAM. A selection from her “An/other” series is in Istanbul Modern Museum’s photography collection.
Apart from her personal projects, she lectures in Istanbul Bilgi University and Koç University. She is the founder of FiLBooks, a space dedicated to photo books, artist talks and workshops in Karaköy, Istanbul. Cemre is represented by Daire Gallery in Istanbul.