Barbara and Zafer Baran live and work in London, and have been collaborating as photographic artists since 1981. Their work is held in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and others.
Their first solo museum show, Observatory: A Retrospective, was held at Istanbul Museum of Modern Art in 2013-14. Other solo exhibitions include Moon and Star Drawings (Galeri Mana, Istanbul 2014), Turner's View / Star Drawings (England & Co, London 2011), The Garden of Earthly Delights (Borusan Art Gallery, Istanbul 2005, in conjunction with 9th International Istanbul Biennial) and Ephemera (The Blue Gallery, London 2003). Their very first collaborative solo show, Turkish Portraits, was held at The Photographers’ Gallery, London in 1988.
A selection from their Ephemera series was displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2005-08, as part of Camera-less Photography: Recent Gifts to the V&A Collection. Further camera-less works appeared in the V&A exhibits A History of Camera-less Photography (2010-11) and Picturing Plants: Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration (2011).
June 2020 - March 2021
Collection exhibition at Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
Since its founding in 2004, Istanbul Modern has organized seven collection exhibitions showing the evolution and transformation of modern and contemporary art in Turkey, as well as the international orientation of the museum’s acquisitions. Istanbul Modern’s final collection exhibition at its temporary space in Beyoglu showcases among others a variety of contemporary artworks dealing with nature and the environment, drawing attention to the destruction of nature, the depletion of natural resources and the inevitable rise of ecological problems. The exhibition includes Barbara and Zafer Baran’s 2006 triptych Herb Robert, from their Weeds series.
Installation view, with Herb Robert far right (photo courtesy Istanbul Modern)
1.6.2020 - 15.11.2020
Photography in the pandemic
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art has invited 43 artists to share photographic work produced during the pandemic via the museum’s online platform. The museum notes that, for some, this experience has led to new discoveries; for others, it has provided opportunities to review past practices and give them new meanings. Barbara and Zafer Baran’s contribution to the project, Skin #1, 2006-2020, is from a cameraless series never previously exhibited.
Skin #1, 2006-2020
April - June 2020
Barbara and Zafer Baran are among a number of artists invited to contribute responsive works to AND’s eventSpace exhibition Earth 1970-2020. The exhibition continues AND’s issue-based themes on the environment, ecology and the economy.
Observatory 7, 2002
17.10.2019 - 30.11.2019
Lens ’19 at Mixer Arts
The first in a series of photography exhibitions to be hosted by Mixer Arts, Istanbul, Lens ’19: Things Seen considers the technical and conceptual limits of the medium. Curated by Sena Cakirkaya, the exhibition includes Barbara and Zafer Baran’s diptych Ephemera #144, 2002.
Lens ’19 installation views, with Ephemera #144 (photos courtesy Mixer Arts)
Several pieces from Barbara and Zafer Baran's Ephemera and Flower Cabinet series feature in a new book by Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Published by Thames & Hudson to coincide with the opening of the new Photography Centre at the V&A, Cameraless Photography - one of two launch volumes in an important new photography series by the museum - provides an overview of the major creative, cameraless processes running throughout the history of photography, and includes over 125 key images from the V&A's collection.
Above right: Ephemera #98, 2002
100 poppies, 100 years
Royal Mail's fifth and final series of World War One commemorative stamps, issued yearly between 2014 and 2018, includes a specially commissioned image by Barbara and Zafer Baran. The poppy has been one of the enduring symbols of the First World War, associated with remembrance. To mark the centenary of the end of the war, the Barans individually picked and photographed 100 field poppies – one for each year of the past century – then brought all 100 photographs together in one image to produce the multi-layered end result. In the final artwork, as Royal Mail describe, “the light gently filters through the overlapping petals, giving the image a ghostly, fleeting appearance and suggestion of gentle movement”. This is the Barans' third Royal Mail stamp commission (see Archive).
100 Poppies by Z and B Baran © Royal Mail Group Ltd 2018
The full set of six World War One stamps (below) includes, among others, Paul Nash's painting We Are Making a New World (1918), plus an excerpt from Wilfred Owen's Anthem for Doomed Youth (1917).
© Royal Mail Group Ltd 2018
17.5.2018 - 20.5.2018
Photo London 2018 with England & Co
From the gallery press release: "At Photo London, England & Co will exhibit early analogue photographs by the Barans from the early 1980s: works they produced individually and also from their first collaborative series made in Turkey in 1982. Barbara Baran's Natural Histories series from 1983 references John Berger's Why Look at Animals? (1977): 'The image of a wild animal becomes the starting point of a daydream…'. Zafer Baran's series Seven Days in Norfolk is represented by the set of eight vintage prints that make the panorama: Day Four, Woods (Inner Square Panorama), June 1982, which is exhibited here for the first time. This work was conceived as a photographic sequence that documents an impermanent site-specific intervention on the ground in Norfolk."
Colonnaded Street, Side, South Turkey, 1982
Installation view, Photo London: Day Four, Woods (Inner Square Panorama), Norfolk, June 1982
Prix Pictet nomination
Barbara and Zafer Baran have been nominated for the seventh cycle of the Prix Pictet photography prize, with their series Turner's View: Synthetic Cloud Series I. This is their second nomination for the prize.
The V&A: A Souvenir
A camera-less photograph from Barbara and Zafer Baran's Flower Cabinet series is included in the Victoria and Albert Museum's new book, The V&A: A Souvenir, featuring "the most spectacular holdings from the V&A archives and building".
Above right: Dianthus 135, 2003, from The Flower Cabinet
28.7.2015 - 2018
Artists in Their Time at Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
The Barans' camera-less triptych Herb Robert features in Artists in Their Time, Istanbul Modern's exhibition of works selected from the museum collection. The exhibition takes as its starting point the words of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar (1901-62), one of Turkey's foremost intellectual and literary figures: 'I am neither within time nor completely outside it.'
Herb Robert (triptych), Weeds, 2006 at Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
26.9.2014 - 28.9.2014
Barbara and Zafer Baran will be exhibiting with Galeri Mana at ArtInternational, Istanbul.
13.2.2014 - 15.3.2014
Moon and Star Drawings at Galeri Mana
The solo exhibition Moon and Star Drawings at Galeri Mana, Istanbul, includes a selection of work from two of the Barans' more recent series: Star Drawings, and Moon Drawings (with Wind and Water). These photographs - a type of kinetic light painting - are made using the moon and stars as 'pencils', in long camera exposures. Exhibition runs 13 February to 15 March 2014.
Moon and Star Drawings at Galeri Mana (exhibition view by Mehmet Omur, courtesy Galeri Mana)
28.11.2013 - 27.4.2014 (extended to 18.5.2014)
Baran retrospective, Istanbul Modern
The Barans' work is the subject of a retrospective, Observatory (Rasathane), at Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition features selections from 11 of their series, from 1999 to the present day - many previously unseen, and including both in-camera and cameraless photography, as well as videos. Exhibition runs 28 November 2013 to 27 April 2014.
Exhibition view, Observatory, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (photo courtesy Istanbul Modern)
12.4.2013 - 15.4.2013
Istanbul INN London
Barbara and Zafer Baran will be exhibiting selections from Ephemera and Star Drawings at Istanbul INN London, from 12 to 15 April 2013, Victoria House, Bloomsbury, London.
13.4.2012 - 27.6.2012
Star Drawings in two group shows
Two of the Barans' Star Drawings have been selected for the 2012 Open at Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales. Exhibition runs 28 April to 27 June 2012. A number of their Star Drawings will also be appearing in the group show Wandering Lines II: From Automatic Drawing to Abstraction (the second in a series) at England & Co, London, between 13 April and 26 May 2012.
8.4.2011 - 31.4.2011
Several Star Drawings from the Barans' recent solo show at England & Co will be included in the gallery's forthcoming exhibition Wandering Lines: From Automatic Drawing to Abstraction. The title of the exhibition comes from Gertrude Stein’s account of her first flight in an aircraft in the 1930s, when she described looking down at the earth and seeing ‘the wandering lines of Masson’. The exhibition explores ideas and methods around the concept of the ‘wandering line’, with works by contemporary artists shown alongside 20th century drawings. Exhibition runs 8 to 31 April 2011.
9.2.2011 - 2.3.2011
Turner's View / Star Drawings at England & Co
Barbara and Zafer Baran will be showing two new series - Turner's View and Star Drawings - at England & Co, in their first major London exhibition since 2003. Exhibition runs 9 February to 2 March 2011.
Moon Drawing 3292 at England & Co
5.2.2011 - 25.9.2011
Masterpieces of botanical illustration at the V&A
One of the Barans' camera-less photographs is included in the exhibit Picturing Plants: Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Exhibition runs 5 February to 25 September 2011.
13.10.2010 - 27.3.2011
Camera-less photography at the V&A
Barbara and Zafer Baran are included in the display A History of Camera-less Photography accompanying the exhibition Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The display explores the camera-less image from its discovery in the 1850s to the present day, and includes works by Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Frederick Sommer and Cornelia Parker. The Barans will be discussing their working process on 24 November 2010, 1-4 pm, in the Sackler Centre Digital Studio at the V&A. Exhibition runs 13 October 2010 to 27 March 2011.
Camera-less photography at the V&A
Photographs copyright © Barbara & Zafer Baran