Faruk Ulay contact

Faruk Ulay was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1957. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design from The State Academy of Fine Arts, he completed his Master of Arts degree in Visual Communications in Goldsmiths' College in London, England. In 1982, he moved to the United States and established a design studio in Pasadena, California, where he focuses on authoring purely text-based, literary works as well as engaging text and visuals to create interdisciplinary, multi-layered projects.

In his work that embraces both verbal and visual elements, Faruk Ulay uses photography as his medium of choice to stimulate an ongoing dialogue between oppositions, a shifting landscape which put dichotomies into play: identity and difference, presence and absence, concrete and abstract, the past lingering in the present, among others. Urban landscapes, barren lands, and found objects are frequently featured in his photographs. Text accompanying these images live independently in the borrowed collective space and point to what is not accentuated in the photographs. It is hoped that viewers themselves can undertake the task of seeing the mutating world through the juxtaposition of images and rebuild it from their own perspective.

In addition to his work that incorporates both the visual and the textual, Faruk Ulay has written eight volumes of short stories, two novels, and one non-fiction work–a design manifesto. His literary fiction appear regularly in literary and cultural journals in Turkey, in the United States, and in Canada.


Dolls Found, Words Lost
Dolls Found, Words LostDolls Found, Words Lost | 42 Pages | 7" x 7" (18cm x 18cm) | Full Color | 2013 | Edition of 250 copies | The book was created in conjunction with an exhibition. Sixteen found objects–discarded dolls, all mass-produced during the 1930s through the 1950s–were photographed on a stage constructed by the artist. Facing pages accommodate short paragraphs of text, each loosely tethered to a restless background, text that is abstruse in meaning and hazy in appearance. The edgy setting lays bare the inability of language and photography to converge seamlessly in the collective space. The text invites the viewer to differential readings, multiple layers of meaning, playful readings that allow the viewer to enter into the text and recompose it–over and over. One cannot locate a center, an imperative–a transcendental signified. It is, rather, an unending play of signs that opens up anew with each reading. This project, thus, plays with lost and reclaimed identity, queries authenticity, toys with the artist's intervention/intention to inject uniqueness into mass-produced objects, and calls into question the systems of presentation and representation.
Cultivation of Enigma
Cultivation of Enigma
Cultivation of Enigma | 80 Pages | 7" x 7" (18cm x 18cm) | Full Color | 2011 | Edition of 125 copies | A portfolio in a book format, comprising thirty-six photographs and an accompanying text. The prevailing sentiment here is silence, broken with simple questions and worries about history being erased aggressively and future is being built on the ghost of a past. Cultural geography is visualized through mute photographs of disappearing urban architecture; silence and muteness are treated like covert protestations, and simple observations of decay are transformed into a fount eternal truths.
Beneath the Shadow of Perpetual Defeat
design manifesto
Beneath the Shadow of Perpetual Defeat - A Graphic Design Manifesto | 404 Pages | 6.25" x 9.5" (15.5cm x 24cm) | Full Color | Published by Akin Nalca Pubishing in Turkish and English Editions | 2005 | Subtitled as a Graphic Design Manifesto, the book features french folded pages that shelter ninety-nine short paragraphs. Front sides of the pages are reserved for unbreachable walls. The writing is sarcastic and defeatist. While pretending to be a manifesto, it pokes fun at commercial design striving to please the corporate culture and proposes illusory, impractical, and ultimately utopian solutions.
Terra Infirma
Terra Infirma
Terra Infirma | 68 Pages | 5" x 8" (12.5cm x 20.5cm) | Triple Press | 2005 | Ninety nine disjointed paragraphs, absurd propositions, false syllogisms or very short, dense, irreal stories. An experiment to define a universe of radical disjunction.
Locus Novus
Locus Novus
Locus Novus is a literary web site, established in 2000. It presents literary texts combined with visuals, sound and motion. The website started out as an experiment in Flash-based presentations and developed into a literary venue. No new work has been added since 2010, but most of the sixty-five presentations are still valid, and the writing is timeless, so the website stays active. www.locusnovus.com