03.11.08: Wien Museum Karlsplatz: Modern Turkey – Photographs by Othmar Pferschy

Wien Museum Karlsplatz: Modern Turkey – Photographs by Othmar Pferschy Modernism on the banks of the Bosporus During the 1930’s it was fashionable for Austrians to immigrate to Turkey, which was at that time under the rule of Kemal Ataturk. Among them was Clemens Holzmeister, who designed numerous ministries, the parliament, and Ataturk’s palace in Ankara. And the photographer Othmar Pferschy was another famous Austrian who had moved to Turkey. His works are currently shown at the Wien Museum. Due to the fact that the exhibit had originally been assembled for a Turkish audience, there is practically no reference to the difficult conditions under which a photographer from a foreign country was forced to work in Turkey. The Turkish state owned press office commissioned Pferschy to document the country’s new construction. Pferschy had moved from Graz to Istanbul in 1926. His photographs are published in numerous books as well as photo features. Pferschy was highly esteemed in Turkey; his photos were not only used for postcards, but also printed onto banknotes. Pferschy’s carefully composed photographs shown at the Wien Museum depict Turkish middle school girls with short hair, female athletes in mini skirts, or beardless young Turkish students. These pictures could have easily been taken in Paris or Milan. While Holzmeister remained in exile in Turkey after 1938, Pferschy had to join the German Wehrmacht. He moved back to Turkey after 1947. However, the political climate had changed dramatically after Ataturk’s death, and on account of massive defamation campaigns by his colleagues, Pferschy dispiritedly left the country in 1969. Today, presumably many of the granddaughters of those depicted on Pferschy’s photographs, again wear headscarves. Wien Museum Karlsplatz 1040 Wien, Karlsplatz, until 09.11.08 www.wienmuseum.at

Wien Museum Karlsplatz
1040 Wien, Karlsplatz
Tel: +43 1 5058747-0, Fax: +43 1 5058747-7201
Öffnungszeiten: Di-So 10.00-18.00 Uhr

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