Gabriel Vorbon determines the subjects of his photographs inspiring from the flow of daily life and his own experiences. The events he witnesses and the people he encounters turn into living frames in the artist’s mind. His compositions that reflect frozen flows do shelter hidden sequences of time that belong to the previous and following moments shot. We had a conversation with Gabriel on his artistic process and his recent projects.
Gabriel Vorbon initiated his university education at Yıldız Technical University, at the Computer Engineering Department, and continued his studies at Istanbul Technical University, Department of Interior Architecture. He studied interior design at Escola Superior De Disseny I d’Arts Plastiques Academy in Barcelona, where he went for Erasmus. He lives and works in Istanbul and Barcelona.
You live and work in between Istanbul and Barcelona. It must have been difficult for you to travel between the two countries in this period of Covid-19. How did this affect you and your artistic progress?
The restrictions of entries-exits to both countries and bureaucratic slowdowns during the pandemic period significantly disrupted the Barcelona part of my work. In this period, I often found myself fighting with the lack of motivation that we all experienced. However, in this period, when I was at home, I tried to focus on CGI technology (computer-generated imagery) that I always wanted to improve myself as much as I could. I hope that shortly when I feel ready, I will be exhibiting my works.
You started your education with computer engineering and then continued with interior architecture and worked as an assistant of photography. How did the experiences from different disciplines contribute to you and your work?
Although I quit engineering, the intensity of information in the numerical field in high school and later in engineering, developed my practice of analytical thinking. Sometimes I need to use mathematics in the field of photography. At the university, I decided to change my field of study because I was looking for a field that would feed my visual thinking, and I found myself in the Faculty of Architecture. The basic design education which I received there was parallel to the field of photography. All the forms and designs that inspired by nature, all the circumstances around us, and our feelings, are all in relationship with photography. For this reason, I can say that they all get nourished from each other.
Your photographs on art50.net consist of series. The relationships of human figures with their surroundings and the portraits are the subjects that you focus on. How do you determine the subjects and the fictions of your photographs?
I like to show to myself and to people subjected in my works, the states that they haven’t seen in themselves before, and to demonstrate their potentials in front of the camera. And mostly, the subjects, the models of my projects do experience their first shooting experiences. In our daily lives, we unwittingly look at countless – live – photo frames with our eyes. I try to keep, these moving frames and the people who we see with our eyes, in my mind. And then turn these images from my memories into real photographs. Therefore, I sometimes may even identify a subject in a subway to be represented in my photographs even though the person was not aware.
The series called; ‘Objects for the Body’ and ‘Rational Things’ are quite interesting. How does your process develop? Do concepts lead you to the titles of your series, or do you initiate with titles first? Can you briefly explain the development process of these series?
Many of the topics that I represent in my works consist of issues that I have internalized in the past. Sometimes, when we discuss with each other, some prominent sentences do stay in our minds. In a way, they remain in our minds, and we keep thinking about these sentences. For instance, when we go to bed, they keep wheeling around for weeks in a row. These sentences that resonate in my memories, and those which even take us to awaken, can turn into the titles of my photographs. For example, the series called “Rational Things” came out when someone raised the question of “When did you become a rational person?” And I would say that it is a result of my thinking about myself and this notion of being the rational person who I have become.
Let us talk about the concept of time in your photographs. Apart from the medium you use, they do remind of a frozen moment. In some series, human figures turn into sculptures, and again time is still. What do you think about the concept of time?
In cinema, in some of the independent films, a scene initiates in the middle of an event. Sometimes we see a person crouching in a parking lot for two minutes and we realize that something has happened before the incident. Then we try to understand the preceding moments according to the actions of the subject. We sense that there is a story, a history behind and we start to wonder what has happened before and will happen after that scene to understand what it is about. And this is only because a person is crouched in a parking lot for two minutes… In my photographs, I try to create this crouching person in a parking lot and try to arouse curiosity. And I try to make the audience wonder what has happened before and what will happen after. Even if there are frozen moments, it is among my goals to create photos that invite the spectator to be watched.
How does moving between different geographies nourish you?
As much as I can do it, I would say that it has a great contribution to my artistic process. As a photographer who likes to work under natural light and outdoors, one of its external impacts is the diversification of new spaces that I can use in my projects.
How did you get acquainted with art50.net? What are your thoughts about to be sheltered in one of the Turkey’s most well-known and followed art platforms? What are your expectations?
We first met with art50.net at Mamut19, where I participated. After that, our main acquaintance was during the Step Istanbul exhibition. I am so much excited to be involved, as it is a platform that I follow and includes many of my friends who are artists as well. All of our meeting process was quite enjoyable. I have expectations from art50.net, a platform that builds a bridge with the art lovers, and in terms of increasing the visibility of artists and their artworks. On the other hand, I am aware of the difficult period we are in worldwide.
If you were given a huge amount of a budget and you could only buy one work of art by a single artist, whose work would you buy?
It is type of a question that makes me feel a little bit of stress… I always avoided answering these questions about the ‘best’ all my life, and I avoid to answer. Because, I always feel like I have to go through and scan my whole mind and search to give the right answer. Would it be possible to buy one of my own works with this budget and focus on my new projects within this budget that receives back to me? 🙂
Have you ever tried using different techniques other than photography?
This year, as I mentioned before, I worked on CGI, but have not exhibited my works yet. During the previous years, I produced few video projects, and I also tried linoleum printing, oil painting and sculpture during my education.
Click for the artist page.
Interview: Sena Arcak Bağcılar