The Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul will move and have a makeover, the works are unhooked and then crated, March 23, 2018
This afternoon, visitors jostle in the alleys of Istanbul’s main modern art museum, taking selfies in front of the works or whispering about the latest trends. But all these pieces will soon disappear, unhooked, listed, photographed and crated.
The building itself, a 1950s hangar named Antrepo # 4 in Turkish, ideally nestled at the edge of the Bosphorus and with breathtaking views of the Ottoman Topkapi Palace, will be destroyed.
But this is not the end of the Istanbul Modern: the museum closed on March 18 and will reopen in May at the premises of the French Union in Istanbul, before reinvesting in three years a brand new site at his original address.
Since its opening on December 11, 2004, this museum has become a symbol of 21st century Istanbul, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire proud of its past and open to the world.
One by one, the pieces of the Istanbul Modern will be unhitched, listed, stored in crates, before the move. Photo taken on March 23, 2018 in Istanbul
Evoking in 2005 the dazzling success of this new place of contemporary art, Newsweek magazine had not hesitated to call Istanbul „one of the coolest cities“ in the world. Queen Elizabeth II visited the Istanbul Modern during a state visit in May 2008.
The new museum is to be designed by the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano, who was involved in designing the Pompidou Center and the new Judicial City in Paris, as well as the skyscraper The Shard in London. The images have not been released yet, they should be released later this year.
– „Melancholy“ –
„We feel a kind of melancholy and nostalgia“ to leave the historic building, told the director of Istanbul Modern Modern, Levent Calikoglu, while employees are working around him to get the works.
„But a new future is ahead of us (…) Our new building will bring new visibility to the art world and Istanbul,“ he adds.
The opening of the Istanbul Modern was largely supported at the time by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then Prime Minister. For some, the very existence of the museum was proof that the arts could flourish in Erdogan’s Turkey, whose Islamic-conservative party came to power in 2002.
Since then, the arts have had difficult times in Turkey, but the Istanbul Modern proudly boasts 7 million visitors since its inauguration.
The museum will reopen in three years in a new site designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. Photo taken in Istanbul on March 23, 2018
Turks of all ages and all walks of life frequent it alongside foreign tourists.
Some visitors stop in front of a huge canvas by the German artist Anselm Kiefer, others marvel at an abstract masterpiece by Turkish artist Fahrelnissa Zeid, or remain speechless in front of black and white photographs. the inimitable Ara Güler, representing old Istanbul.
„There are things here that I see for the first time,“ says Gökberk, who, at age 19, discovers the museum with friends. „It’s interesting, I like it.“
Nesrin Aktar, a big fan of this place, hopes that the move will proceed as planned. „We come here to live the exhibitions, to permeate our soul, all that inspires us,“ she explains.
– „Think 500 years“ –
The new museum is mainly funded by the founding sponsor of Istanbul Modern, the Eczacibasi group, which supports many arts-related projects, and by the conglomerate Dogus Group-Bilgili Holding. The state does not get involved financially, as is often the case in the arts in Turkey.
In its future version, the museum will have a dedicated space within a broader concept of redevelopment and revitalization of Istanbul’s historic port, Galataport. This over $ 1 billion project is designed to create office and residential spaces and a renovated marine terminal.
The Istanbul Modern is a flagship museum in Turkey. Photo taken on March 23, 2018
The integration of the Museum of Modern Art in Galataport is a mixed enthusiasm. Some critics, including architects, denounce a violation of the planning rules – which the project designers reject. Others fear that the museum, diluted in a larger whole, will lose its identity.
In an interview with the daily Hürriyet, Oya Eczacibasi, chairman of the board of the Istanbul Modern, wanted to be reassuring: Galataport „will bring a lot to Istanbul“ once completed, and the management of the Istanbul Modern will keep fully hand on her agenda, she said.
From the outset, some doubted the need for a Western-style institution hosting temporary exhibitions, a cinema and a restaurant, says Eczacibasi. But skeptics were finally convinced, with „a lot of support from the public and private sectors,“ she notes.
We do not yet know what the future museum will look like, but Mrs Eczacibasi assures it, the new Istanbul Modern will become one of the symbols of the city, just like its historical buildings. And a sustainable museum: Renzo Piano „aims at 500 years of life for this building“.