Faruk Ulay ~ California


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Rain Taxi, Visible and Invisible Literatures: "Born in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1957, Faruk Ulay is a prolific multimedia author / graphic designer living in Pasadena, California, today. After receiving a B.A. in Graphic Design in Istanbul, he attended The Goldsmiths’ College in London for postgraduate studies in Visual Communications. He moved to the United States in 1982 and established a design business in Los Angeles, where he still occasionally designs, but mostly writes difficult-to-classify texts, often incorporating photographs of American urban landscapes notable for their emptiness.”
City, Projections
Photography by Alyse Ulay
Essays by Cem Akas, Esra Ozdogan
[Pasadena, California]: Locus Novus, 2014. Edition of 750 (350 available for sale).

9.5 x 12.5"; 104 pages. Printed in full color offset. Perfect bound, Softcover with illustrated wraps. Bilingual text (Turkish and English).

Locus Novus: "Documenting the signage system of Los Angeles through a unique set of rules and a photographical approach, Alyse Ulay's 'ID:LA' series suggest an accumulated 'now' with all its repetitions, differences, discardedness, and continued use. Here the line between 'the city' and 'a city' starts to blur; the signs of the photographs begin to signal a totally separate space – a space that has internal connections and consistent language with loaded background requires further study.

"Trained in graphic design, Ulay has sustained an interest in typography and signage systems, manufactured objects, and text-based practices, questioning their place in urban landscape, the social dynamics behind them with their cultural specificity."

ID:LA / City, projections was published in conjunction with an exhibition held in Istanbul, turkey from January 22 to March 15, 2014.

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Dolls Found, Words Lost
By Faruk Ulay
[Pasadena, California]: Faruk Ulay, 2013. Edition of 250.

7" x 7"; 42 pages. Texts and photographs by Faruk Ulay. Full color digital offset printing. Perfect bound with soft cover binding. Signed by the artist.

Frank Ulay: "The book was created in conjunction with an exhibition. Sixteen found objects – discarded dolls, all mass-produced during the 1930s through the 1950s – were photographed on a stage constructed by the artist. Facing pages accommodate short paragraphs of text, each loosely tethered to a restless background, text that is abstruse in meaning and hazy in appearance. The edgy setting lays bare the inability of language and photography to converge seamlessly in the collective space. The text invites the viewer to differential readings, multiple layers of meaning, playful readings that allow the viewer to enter into the text and recompose it – over and over. One cannot locate a center, an imperative – a transcendental signified. It is, rather, an unending play of signs that opens up anew with each reading. This project, thus, plays with lost and reclaimed identity, queries authenticity, toys with the artist's intervention/intention to inject uniqueness into mass-produced objects, and calls into question the systems of presentation and representation.

Levi Sherman, Journal of Artists' Books: "Faruk Ulay’s Dolls Found, Words Lost sustains a powerful mood throughout. This feeling of fragmentation and angst is consistent across three main components – images of discarded dolls, abstract semi-narrative text, and an ever-changing backdrop of geometric forms. The subtle changes throughout the progression are highlighted by the book’s unvaried format, which consists of text on the verso and a doll on the recto. The seductive quality of the text and images combined with their inadequacy to communicate a clear narrative invites the reader to form new stories while also showing the futility of doing so. The book presents large, almost ungraspable concepts with imagery of one-of-a-kind objects, which creates a friction between general and specific, between rules and exceptions. The reader must confront the systems through which objects are endowed meaning, and how these modes of representation impact people and culture."

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Cultivation of Enigma
By Faruk Ulay
[Pasadena, California]: Faruk Ulay, 2011. Edition of 125.

7" x 7"; 80 pages. Full color digital offset printing. Perfect bound, soft cover binding. Signed by the artist.

Faruk Ulay: "A portfolio in a book format, comprising thirty-six photographs and an accompanying text. The prevailing sentiment here is silence, broken with simple questions and worries about history being erased aggressively and future is being built on the ghost of a past. Cultural geography is visualized through mute photographs of disappearing urban architecture; silence and muteness are treated like covert protestations, and simple observations of decay are transformed into a fount eternal truths."

Levi Sherman, Journal of Artists' Books: "In Cultivation of Enigma, Faruk Ulay questions the price of progress. The book presents thirty-six photos of architecture from a bygone era, each one accompanied with a bit of text that ruminates on the photo’s subject and its place within a narrative of the systematic destruction of the past to make way for the future. The photographs further evoke a feeling of nostalgia through their plastic lens aesthetic, square format, and white frames. The book represents captivating images and text in a consistent format that nonetheless propels the reader forward. Each pair is meaningful and engaging, but when taken as a whole they serve as case studies for a much larger trend. Ultimately, the book urges readers to consider the urban environment with awareness and criticality, to ponder our cultural geography and history."

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Page last update: 12.17.15


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