Ursula Schulz-Dornburg

Bosporus, Istanbul

Gallery Luisotti is excited to present for the first time a new body of work by Ursula Schulz-Dornburg titled, “Bosporus, Istanbul”.  A series of black and white gelatin silver prints first made in 1978 are only now being revisited. The work explores the fascinating architectural structures that line the banks of the Bosporus strait in Istanbul. As fragile as the city of Venice, these wooden homes and estates have weathered over a hundred years of social and political change. They are like quiet monuments to time.

Click here to view the complete series


In a way, it seems to me that 42 years ago I was not yet aware of the intention of this work. Perhaps these wooden houses on the banks of the Bosporus, already slightly decaying, also tended to become pictorial metaphors, or, in other words, symbolic quotations of reality, like so many of my works.   



Some years before, in 1973, there was a project I completed in Venice, the city by the sea, which already was endangered at that time.






Through this project I met a Turkish architect in Munich and learned from him about the Bosporus structures, which had already partly disappeared through natural decay, earthquakes and fire.


B6-N10In 1978 I had the opportunity, together with architectural studio of Cengiz Bektas and my daughter Julia, to go in a small motorboat along the western shore of the Bosporus to photograph these houses. There was something quite familiar about them. Strangely enough, in no way did they make me think of the iconic stone architecture  endemic to the Ottoman empire – even a mosque on the banks was built of wood and had something of a village church feeling – rather like Venetian architecture.

B6-N9 Kopie


Reflecting on the extended time these images have remained in my archives has endowed them with another symbolic dimension: there was a time when they were built and when so many different nations could live in these fragile architectures – on the banks of the Bosporus.


~Ursula Schulz-Dornburg