Lale Tara

Lale Tara (b. 1957) lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey


Since the beginning of her career, Lale Tara has been caught by the charm of an inanimate, static object. In the year 2005, she started to investigate their emotional power and sense of ambiguity; through staged  photography of the objects like, window display mannequins and toy dolls identical to new born human babies, she innovated ways to animate them. In context to Lale Tara's works, the word 'to animate' does not mean 'to make move', it rather means 'to give soul to', from the Latin word 'anima'. This powerful transformation stems from the profoundly emotional thoughts and experiences woven on them. Since then the principle of animism, of an object infused with meaning beyond its material self, became the principle of metaphor in Lale Tara's staged narratives.


A more radical gesture came in the year 2008, when she staged a life-size doll as her own doppelganger. This symbolic play with the doll along with the act of adornment to create new identities provided her "opportunities to discuss the changing interactions between women and dolls, organic and inanimate constructions of capitalism. With their narrative function they opened up new voyeuristic and fetishist possibilities. Further, a rare 'female double', an already 'other' in a phallocentric confine, has always been overlooked, or perhaps even deliberately marginalized; its presence as the protagonist of the narrative in Lale Tara's staged photographs generates an uneasy perplexity and anxiety in viewers as it articulates disturbing crisis of self-division and identity as alterity, particularly, a radical alterity within the divided states of the psyche of women". 


Dr. Vaishali Sharma



Speaking of her work,  Lale Tara tells:


My works comes under the category of staged photography because they are not the real events they are staged to create a photograph. Along with this, they can be placed somewhere between the blurring boundaries of 'performed photography' (cause I call the character as my doppelgänger)  and 'installation photography' (cause it is actually an object). Of course , this is related to the perspective from which the photograph is viewed.


Film-like production takes place for every project; Tara, as writer, producer and photographer, sets up her shoot on location or at the studio along with experienced crew members to create the photographic events.

Tara has exhibited extensively in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, including both group and solo exhibitions at Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Turkey). Her works are included in the Salsali Private Museum (Dubai, UAE), Samawi Collection (Dubai, UAE), Alexa von Arnim Photography Collection (Germany), H. and Jakkal Siributr Collection (Thailand), Marrian Fassler Collection (South Africa), Istanbul Modern (Turkey) and the Sevil Sabancı Collection (Turkey).

Lale Tara