Piotr Uklanski: Ottomania
Published by Bywater Bros. Editions.
Taxonomies of Orientalism in art, from Piotr Uklanski
Celebrated Polish-born artist Piotr Uklanski (born 1968) established himself in the mid-1990s with a diverse body of work examining the ever-changing relationship between identity, history and culture.
Continuing this investigation, Uklanski’s new book, Ottomania, traces the phenomenon of Orientalist portraiture over the past 500 years. This book contains over 200 paintings, drawings, prints and photography—images of men in turbans, theatrically embellished masculine dress, richly decorated fabrics, the codification of facial hair and the romantic settings of Ottoman or Persian court life—from Rembrandt, Zurbarán, Liotard, Tiepolo, Rubens, Delacroix, Schiele, Matisse, Picasso, de Chirico, Dalí, Balthus and Leonor Fini.
Uklanski orders the works roughly by theme, demonstrating how Western artists exploited key Orientalist signifiers, in dress, setting and pose, in order to portray their sitters—men, women and children—as worldly, romantic and in other ways exotic.