Ferit Kuyas (1955) was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He studied architecture and law in Zurich, Switzerland and graduated 1982 in jurisprudence from the University of Zurich. Working mainly on personal projects, he published several books. After visiting Shanghai for commissioned work, Ferit’s travels brought him often back to China. His most recent body of work is City of Ambition with large cityscapes from the megalopolis Chongqing, China, which got published in October 2009.
Ferit’s photographs have been shown in museums, galleries and festivals in Europe, America and Asia. His work is represented in private, corporate and public collections in the United States, England, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Turkey. He received a number of awards, among them the Kodak Photobook-Award, the Guatephoto Award and the Hasselblad Masters.
During the year 1995 I started devoting more of my time to comissioned work. It became more difficult to mainly focus on personal projects.
So I started photographing on travel which I continued until 2008.
While doing this, in some way I was leaving open the inner response to what my eyes were telling me about the outside world, becoming a resonance membrane, responding sensitively to each symbol and image – sometimes consciously but often entirely intuitively. The result were images of metaphorical quality. I have collected these intuitive Archetypes over the years. By contemplating them, I am drawn unconsciously into a process of deeper resonance.
Often devoid of people, these images reflect a severity and clarity as well as a timeless mystical quality. They evoke an elementary meaning which exceeds their primary content, unveiling another level underneath the level of obvious reality. Here I find the reflection of my inner thoughts, values, moods – I guess like in a mirror of my subconscious.
They are showing my elements of life, fragments of reality, sometimes a deeper truth normally hidden to us. Of course it will always be my own truth.
City of Ambition is a visit to one of the largest cities in the world, Chongqing where I am mainly interested in the outskirts. There the city can’t be really seen but sensed, like a tiger moving through the jungle – invisible, yet there. Construction sites and places of change show metaphorical facets of the huge shift taking place in contemporary China. The landscape formed by the two huge rivers blending in the city will completely change when the water level reaches its maximum as part of the reservoir formed by the Three Gorges Dam. What dramatical effects this will have to the city of Chongqing can only be guessed today.
The fog dominating most pictures is real. The city is nicknamed in China as the City of Fog. It reflects the big mystery China still is for me. After many travels it seems like the more I learn the less I know. Often it feels like moving trough a surreal scenery, set up to make a movie. Although this body of work definitely has a documentary component I do not understand myself as a documentarist. The ability to express my personal emotions through my images is very important to me.
City of Ambition is a series of colour photographs from Chongqing, one of the largest cities in the world. My images aim to reflect the sheer dimensions of the cityscape. Like most of my work, this project has autobiographic roots: I got to know the city through my in-laws who live there. The people of Chongqing are very eager to show the world and their sister cities in China who they are. Together with the booming economy, this leads to an explosion in city development.
I am mostly interested in the outskirts of Chongqing, where the city can’t really be seen, but rather sensed. Also construction sites and places of change are of main interest to me. They show us metaphorical facets of the huge changes taking place in contemporary China.
Astonishingly, Chongqing is an unknown place for most people in the western world. The city is located in Southwest China’s region of Sichuan and was the capital of China during World War II. The municipality is populated by approximately 32 million people.
Ferit Kuyas: Chongqing – City of Ambition. With Texts by Diana Edkins and Bill Kouwenhoven. Schilt 2009 Publishing, Amsterdam, 112 pages (English edition) and Benteli Publishers, Berne (German edition)
Ferit Kuyas, Edy Brunner and Marco Paoluzzo: Shanghai, Edition Stemmle, Thalwil/Zurich and New York 2000
Ferit Kuyas: Industrial Interiors, Edition Stemmle, Thalwil/Zurich and New York 1999
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA
Howard Stein Collection, New York, USA
Portland Musuem of Arts, Portland OR, USA
Musèe de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium
F. Hoffmann-La Roche Collection, Basel, Switzerland
Centrum Bank, Vaduz Liechtenstein
Metron Collection, Brugg AG, Switzerland
La Fototeca, Guatemala City
EWD Collection, Davos, Switzerland
NOK (AXPO) Collection, Baden, Switzerland
Interartes, Zürich, Switzerland