Istanbul is full of old historic buildings from different pasts. Some are badly in decay like I mentioned in the previous post (The Art of Decay) , but some do get lucky and are in the process of being renovated mostly as part of preparations for city's upcoming title as the European Capital of Culture in 2010. So while culture is being refreshed to be showcased once more in it's full glory, a culture of temporary facades has emerged in form of wrappings.
I've been taking photographs of some of those temporary structures and draperies and plywood curtains. As ordinary as they are, some of them proved to be quite elegant and lively as their drapes were lifted by wind or as their wrinkles or cracks were caught in the low sunlight. They are simple constructions of mix-scaffolding of wood and steel tubes then covered with some kind of fabric or plywood. The fabric is either cut in vertical pieces like a curtain, or perforated in a regular pattern to let air in and out. In both cases sometimes the pattern gets interrupted, sometimes one of the drapes get folded for better access, which then help create a different fashion for each building.
Of course when walking along these buildings with their transient facades, it's impossible not to be reminded of amazing works of Christo and Jeanne Claude. And especially this week after hearing the sad news of Jeanne Claude's sudden passing. Sad to see her go, but happy for her to have left such wonderful memories of art. I was lucky enough to be in NY to see their beautiful "Gates" some winters ago, before they became recycled into inspired ideas, thoughts and memories. It was probably one of the very happy times in the collective minds of New Yorkers - I had definitely not seen as many of them smiling before or again.
I don't know if one associates anything wrapped with a gift or a surprise in works underneath it, but in me the "wrap" always inspires wonder. And mostly joy,too, in case of wrapped buildings waiting to be unwrapped/explored/discovered like giant toy presents. The usual point of view gets shifted and a sense of adventure rises. And as these short-lived facades peel away, the true identity of the buildings start showing face one more time. The edge of street changes again, the box gets unwrapped, the make-up behind the veil reveals itself and the building gets another chance at the chaotic urban life of Istanbul.