Rehan Miskci
Somewhere Between Here and Then*

archival pigment prints
96 x 67 inches
produced with the support of SAHA

"As the famous Italian saying traduttore, traditore (translator, traitor) voices the suspicion concerning the accuracy of translated texts, the deceptiveness of photography is no secret either. We are quite aware that the elements that could entirely change how we see the story of the scene before our eyes, might have been left outside the photograph's frame. This mutual obscurity of photography and translation constitutes a layer of double quandary in Rehan Miskci's work wherein the personal and the social are intertwined. Details of hands taken from the photographs that belong to the Fahri Çoker archive documenting the Istanbul pogrom of the 6-7 September 1955, which he donated to the History Foundation [Tarih Vakfi] to be made public only after his passing are of key importance in this work. These nine hands in actual size reach out as it were, towards the void between them or towards one another. Although they seem less threatening than in reality, it is not clear what it is that they are doing exactly. Do they signify a courteous gesture, or are they perpetrators of an imminent act of violence? This vagueness in the story is intensified and partially lifted by the details too dark to decipher at a first glance which complement these photographs that were left in darkness for half a century: As one draws nearer the picture of a hand on the table reveals that these images are the jigsaw puzzle-like pieces of a much larger photograph. The photograph has been taken from the shop of the artist's grandfather located on Istiklal Avenue, which was one of the most violent sites of the pogrom.

Besides the fact that he personally could dodge the harm as he had previously changed his name, his story recalls the situation of translators who were obliged to make some impossible choices for the sake of survival. La Malinche, who was a well known figure in the history of colonialism, escaped the genocide of the indigenous people in Mexico by working for/with the colonialists. A similar complexity of identity and positioning causes an ambiguity in these photographs of hands, just like in the case of translators who are both praised and distrusted.

Meaning, translation, and betrayal are all trapped to linger within the bounds of this liminal realm. Which is more dangerous, these hands stretching out from the photographs, or the hand that dares to write the (his)story?"

Excerpt from “So They Will (Not) Understand Each Other” by Nilüfer Şaşmazer
for the exhibition catalogue of “Translating Worlds”


”Sallana / Sweep

Together with Rehan Miskci's multilayered installation titled Somewhere Between Here and Then, I step into the slippery and manipulative ground of the potentials of meaning. I think that it is urgent for us to probe the medium of photography and the illusion of reality borne in its aura over and over again, especially in this visually saturated digital landscape. In the installation, we observe the hands taken from photographs documenting the violence against minorities committed during the pogrom of September 6-7th, 1955, in Istanbul. They have become so anonymous that they can be the subject of not one but every story. It is impossible to decide whether they are perpetrators or victims, whichever caption they are given will become the reality.”

Excerpt from “From one ear’s to another’s” by Rana Kelleci
for the exhibition catalogue of “Translating Worlds”



*the work borrows its title from a short text by John Berger.