Istanbul works (work in progress)

In Ola Kolehmainen’s previous works of art, building façades were the basis for his abstract, minimalist exploration of contemporary and modern architecture. However, in his latest group of works, the Istanbul works (work in progress), he interprets the interiors of Istanbul’s sacred Byzantine and Ottoman architecture through a stronger, narrative, visual vocabulary.

During a six-month residency (2013-14) in the city located on the threshold between the Christian and the Islamic cultural spheres, Kolehmainen created works of art that divide the interiors and exteriors of mosques and churches into complex, multi-layered, individual photographs, so that he can ultimately assemble them into a montage of impressive tableaus with multiple perspectives. In the process he succeeds in condensing the subtly effective, sometimes mystical and sometimes verifiable history of the buildings in his pictures.

He deliberately creates complicated relationships between changing light conditions—which are dependent on the season and the time of day—and the ornamental splendor of the great mosques, the austere simplicity of early Romanesque buildings, and the ordinary scaffolding that inadvertently intervenes in the aesthetics of the spaces. By imposing multiple disruptions through intention and coincidence, he provides an iconographic interpretation of familiar landmarks and creates an intriguing bridge between the past and present. He is currently working on other photographs of Christian and Jewish architecture in order to depict the diversity of sacred architecture more comprehensively.

Stand as of June 2015
Approx. 50 works of art to date
Dimensions vary between 165 x 104 cm and 220 x 560 cm