Ottoman archives include large numbers of photographs depicting the sets of jewelry belonging to the royal family. After the Ottoman family’s exile from the new Turkish Republic in 1924, they had to take most of the jewelry with them in order to survive in their less royal circumstances abroad.
In the last years, Ottoman nostalgia, branded as the ‘Ottoman way of living’, has spread into Turkish popular culture, especially influenced by the historical soap opera Muhteşem Yüzyıl [Magnificent Century]. The show’s characters, acting as prominent persons of the Ottoman Empire’s apogee, wear what is perceived to be Ottoman clothing, including the new versions of the aforementioned jewels. Following the extreme popularity of the soap opera, the jewels have been revived as well, and are now produced as cheap imitations and sold in mass quantities at outdoor markets.
The sets of these modern jewelry reproductions have been created as photograms in the same configurations that are seen in archival photos of actual Ottoman jewelry, but unlike those photos, they leave a blankness behind that is open to further interpretations.
Photograms, 6 pieces 20×27 cm + 11 pieces 30×40,5 cm, 2012.