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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tarkan's Desires and Disasters

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

David LaChapelle is coming to Istanbul, and bringing Turkish pop artist Tarkan with him.

The "photographer of illusion" American visual artist LaChapelle is coming to exhibit his studio photographs in the Turkish cultural capital under the title "Documents of Desire & Disasters" next month.

Reinterpreting fashion and commercial works as well as popular culture, LaChapelle is defined as the naughty boy of photography, and he is coming to open a leading New York art gallery in Istanbul this December with his provocative works depicting our desires and disasters.

One of New York's leading art galleries, the Paul Kasmin Gallery is now in Istanbul after New York, and LaChapelle will be hosted as the first guest, coming with an exhibition as assertive as the gallery itself, and to show the city is on its way to being recognized as an international hub for the art world.

LaChapelle, born in Connecticut in 1963 and currently living and and working in New York, is famous for creating portraits of celebrities with the themes of fear, death, existence and belief. Since 1995 he has been awarded best photography artist of the year several times, and his exhibitions have been held in many countries, from New York to Berlin, from China to France.

Madonna, Michael Jackson, Naomi Campbell, Uma Thurman, Angelina Jolie, David Beckham, Britney Spears, Leonardo Di Caprio, Paris Hilton, Elton John, Alexander McQueen, Lady Gaga - and now Tarkan - are amongst the celebrities reflected from his object-glass.

Last year it was rumoured that Tarkan had posed in front of LaChapelle's lens with nineties siren Pamela Anderson, after which photos of the shoot had been leaked online. With photos of a possible second photo shoot surfacing, this year it was reported that Tarkan shelved his David LaChapelle photo shoot.

However, it seems that at least one image of Tarkan through LaChapelle's artistic eye is going to get a public unveiling at next month's exhibition in Istanbul. LaChapelle was quoted as describing the pop singer as "the most charismatic man he had met since Elvis", so it seems appropriate that the buzz is LaChapelle has re-imagined Tarkan as Elvis for an image titled "Graceland" to grace the wall of his exhibit.

Tarkan Graceland LaChapelle
Tarkan - Graceland 2009/LaChapelle
Similarities between the American icon and the Turkish king of pop is not new. Fan artwork has celebrated the physical similarities before, while an established female singer speaking to a journalist had opined that Tarkan could have been "the next Elvis" had he received the necessary backing from American music producers.

David LaChapelle's photographs of the celebrities, and other fantastical imaginings can be seen at the exhibition between 10 December 2010 to 29 January 2011 at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in Beşiktaş, Istanbul.

One of the most prestigious galleries in New York with two branches in NYC, the Paul Kasmin Gallery was founded in 1989 and represents different generations of internationally renowned contemporary and modern painters, sculptors, photographers and film-makes Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, the Lalannes, Walton Ford, Kenny Scharf, Barry Flanagan and Frank Stella.

The institution is expected to contribute to the development of contemporary art in Istanbul.

Tarkan "First" for Fashion Mag

Meanwhile in other news this month, WOWWOW magazine, devoted to the very newest trends in men's fashion and entertainment with special regard to international male models, writes that the Turkish "Prince of Pop Tarkan is the first male celebrity ever to grace the cover of Elle Turkey" for its December edition.

The pop star is accompanied by Swedish model for the shoot, Faye Wrethem and the couple were photographed by David Burton in Istanbul for next month's publication.

Photographer Burton recently said in an interview for Turkish daily Radikal, that "working with Tarkan was easy; he is very professional. You don't need to explain things; he just gets it".

Tarkan Splits with Manager

Finally, doing the rounds in the gossip press is the parting of ways between Tarkan and his long-term manager, Uygar Ataş.

Managing Tarkan's home affairs for nearly two decades, Ataş had to release a statement over his recent split with the singer today to stop escalating rumours over the reasons their professional relationship ended.

Denying a personal rift, Ataş had to give a statement to quell rising rumours citing numerous differences, saying their split was amicable and he had left to pursue his own interests.

"I have known Tarkan since the very beginning, he and I are still friends," the singer's ex-manager reportedly said. "The split was a joint decision. I wanted to open my own company."

The two ended their professional partnership this month after managing Tarkan's affairs for 17 years, amidst a media frenzy over the reason for their split.

Rumours include disagreements over Tarkan's reluctance to represent Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest to Ataş defrauding Tarkan.

Some rumours also say the dispute was not over money, but a woman, with links made to Ataş and an ex-girlfriend from Tarkan's past, ranging from the recent (Nil Özalp) to the ancient (Elif Dağdeviren).

The celebrity community was surprised when the singer and Ataş - who was also a one-time production assistant at Tarkan's old record label Istanbul Plak - parted company recently, as everyone thought they shared a special bond after years of working together.

UPDATE: A month later it was reported that he had signed up to manage Turkish female pop singer Demet Akalın. (December 2010)

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