İstanbul Modern

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

The first private museum in Turkey to hold modern and contemporary art exhibitions, Istanbul Modern was founded in 2004 on an area covering 8,000 square meters on the shore of the Bosphorus. Aiming to be a reference point in the global art world, the museum collects, preserves, exhibits, and documents modern and contemporary artworks and productions in the fields of photography, design, architecture, new media, and film. Acting as an intermediary in sharing Turkey’s cultural identity with the international art world, Istanbul Modern supports artists in producing works and in establishing international collaborations while also offering education programs to art enthusiasts of all ages with the aim of bringing art to a wider audience. With its temporary and permanent exhibition halls, photography gallery, educational and social programs, library, cinema, restaurant, and store, Istanbul Modern offers a multi-faceted array of services.

Through its collection exhibition, which is displayed in chronological order, Istanbul Modern refers to the transformation of modern and contemporary art produced in Turkey from its first days to the present, while at the same time pointing to resources upon which future fields of expression may draw. Texts accompanying the works in the exhibition hall relate the social, cultural, economic, and political dynamics of the development in Turkey. By presenting a selection of its collection, which claims the past as a cultural and artistic legacy and shapes the future through its interaction with the present, the museum underscores the rich diversity between past and future that gives the collection its unique character. Collection exhibitions present, through a contemporary approach, a wide variety of works ranging from painting and sculpture to installation and video from the early 20th century to our day.

Istanbul Modern’s Temporary Exhibition Hall, Photography Gallery, and Pop-up areas each host two or three temporary exhibitions a year. Istanbul Modern holds conceptual shows on modern and contemporary art in Turkey and retrospectives of artists from Turkey as well as local and international exhibitions that point to current transformations in fields such as the visual arts, architecture, design, and new media. The Istanbul Modern Photography Gallery reflects, through conceptual selections, photography’s current transformation, its diverse forms of representation, and cross-sections from the history of photography. While exploring projections in photography of art movements in the world and examples of photography in Turkey from its beginnings to the present, the gallery also hosts exhibitions by prominent photographers from Turkey and abroad.

Besides exhibitions organized by its experienced staff, Istanbul Modern holds joint exhibitions in collaboration with major museums and art institutions in the world or hosts selections from the art collections of these institutions. Among institutions with which Istanbul Modern has collaborated are: London’s Design Museum, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the Benaki Museum, the Verbund Collection in Vienna, and the Thessaloniki and Moscow photography biennales. A project partner recognized and trusted by cultural and artistic circles worldwide, Istanbul Modern is now collaborating with the Museum of Modern Art in the “YAP Istanbul Modern: Young Architects Program” to provide architects with the opportunity to design a temporary installation in Istanbul Modern’s courtyard and exhibit their projects in international art institutions. The educational program “Genç Istanbul Modern,” carried out in collaboration with the Centre Georges Pompidou, offers activities in conjunction with exhibitions and interactive workshops for children.

Through its international partnerships, Istanbul Modern aims to promote abroad Turkey’s art, cultural identity, and approach to museology, and thus contribute to culture and arts tourism. Since 2009, Istanbul Modern has been invited by prominent museums in major world metropolises to exhibit selections from its collection. Examples include collection exhibitions held at the Martin Gropius-Bau in Berlin, the Seoul Museum of Art, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in the Netherlands, the Bahrain National Museum, and the Minsheng Art Museum in China. Istanbul Modern has also been an important partner in all official events organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop bilateral cultural ties, including the celebrations for the Cultural Season of Turkey in France and for the 400th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Turkey as well as the China Year in Turkey and Polish Year in Turkey.

Istanbul Modern’s Education and Social Projects Department gives viewers from all age groups and walks of life the opportunity to enjoy modern and contemporary art in a friendly setting. While seeking to make modern and contemporary art more understandable so as to render it accessible to everyone, the department also strives to create a public educational and sharing platform for visitors, artists and all actors of the art world. Aiming to introduce modern and contemporary art to viewers from different social backgrounds, Istanbul Modern’s educational programs include: guided tours; seminars presented by artists and academics; workshops for children, youths, and adults; exhibitions in the education room; projects to provide equal opportunity in art education; family programs; and mobile museum activities.

Visitors can search Istanbul Modern Library’s catalog online to access the printed and electronic publications in its collection and its sources on art and museology. Istanbul Modern Cinema aims to serve as an alternative viewing platform. Focusing both on examples of world cinema and new works in Turkish cinema, its programs offer movie lovers the latest developments in the art of filmmaking as well as out-of-the-ordinary films and documentaries.

At the Istanbul Modern museum and online stores, catalogues of the exhibitions held at Istanbul Modern and souvenirs featuring reproductions of artworks give many museum visitors the opportunity to share the exhibitions with others in the form of original museum souvenirs. The stores offer a vast collection which includes art books, designer’s home and office accessories, original giftware to remember the exhibitions, and children’s products. Istanbul Modern Restaurant is open every day of the week. Visitors can choose from its select menu while enjoying the view of historical Istanbul and the Bosphorus.


İstanbul Modern Exhibition Program 2017

İstanbul Modern Photograph Exhibition

Artists in Their Time, August 1, 2015 - June 4, 2017

193 works by 109 artists are featured in Istanbul Modern’s new collection exhibition


Istanbul Modern’s collection exhibition “Artists in Their Time” focuses on how artists position their work and themselves as individuals within the concept of time.


“Artists in Their Time” takes as its starting point the words of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901­1962), one of Turkey’s foremost intellectual and literary figures: “I am neither within time nor completely outside of it.” Inspired by Tanpınar’s interpretation of time, the exhibition reveals how artists from different geographies come to terms with the past, present, and future.

Curated by Istanbul Modern Director Levent Çalıkoğlu with the assistance of Artistic Programmer Birnur Temel, the exhibition offers a roadmap for understanding the intertemporal and existential journey of artists through the notion of time that informs the core of Tanpınar’s work. In an age in which a variety of times are perceived simultaneously, the exhibition reminds us of the comprehensive breadth of Tanpınar’s views.


Featuring 193 works by 109 artists, the exhibition brings together different periods around certain themes and proposes a conceptual ground pertaining to the connection and reckoning between an artist’s time and societal, cultural, natural, and universal notions of time.


Artists: Fahrelnissa Zeid, Aliye Berger, Semiha Berksoy, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Cihat Burak, Adnan Varınca, Avni Arbaş, Cafer Türkmen, Naile Akıncı, Aziz Albek, Nejad Melih Devrim, Neşet Günal, Gökşin Sipahioğlu, Adnan Çoker, Turan Erol, Ara Güler, Albert Bitran, Burhan Doğançay, Ömer Uluç, Erol Akyavaş, Yıldız Moran, Yüksel Arslan, Atilla Torunoğlu, Tülay Tura Börtecene, Devrim Erbil, Georg Baselitz, Mehmet Güleryüz, Hermann Nitsch, Sarkis, Nil Yalter, Neş’e Erdok, Burhan Uygur, Nur Koçak, Komet, Seyhun Topuz, Koray Ariş, Anselm Kiefer, Gülsün Karamustafa, Balkan Naci İslimyeli, Richard Wentworth, Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Azade Köker, Fatma Tülin, Şahin Kaygun, Erdağ Aksel, Kemal Önsoy, Barbara & Zafer Baran, William Kentridge, Canan Tolon, Coşkun Aral, İnci Eviner, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Bedri Baykam, Handan Börüteçene, Tayfun Erdoğmuş, Julian Opie, İrfan Önürmen, Jennifer Steinkamp, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Canan Dağdelen, Selma Gürbüz, Hale Tenger, Kutluğ Ataman, Mark Bradford, Aydan Murtezaoğlu, Manuel Çıtak, Gül Ilgaz, Merih Akoğul, Michael Raedecker, Pae White, Liam Gillick, Ekrem Yalçındağ, Vahap Avşar, Murat Germen, Mustafa Horasan, Ferhat Özgür, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Monica Bonvicini, Taner Ceylan, Olafur Eliasson, Doug Aitken, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Margherita Manzelli, Gülay Semercioğlu, Murat Akagündüz, Haluk Akakçe, Hüseyin Çağlayan, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Ali Kazma, Servet Koçyiğit, Nuri Kuzucan, Şener Özmen, Vahit Tuna, Sterling Ruby, Tomas Saraceno, Fikret Atay, Cevdet Erek, Ebru Uygun, Elliott Hundley, Matt Saunders, Nilbar Güreş, Seçkin Pirim, Ali Alışır, Murat Pulat, Ardan Özmenoğlu, Burcu Perçin, Burcu Yağcıoğlu, :mentalKLINIK

The Istanbul “HARBOR” in modern and contemporary art in Turkey, January 28 – June 4, 2017


Istanbul Modern’s new exhibition focuses on ports and harbors. Emphasizing Istanbul’s relationship with the sea, “HARBOR” takes a close look at how art in Turkey has presented the cultural and social life that developed on the coasts and around the ports of the city from the late 19th century to the present. The exhibition is on view from January 28 through June 4, 2017.


After twelve years at Antrepo 4, a warehouse situated in the area known as the Port of Istanbul, Istanbul Modern presents “HARBOR”, its last exhibition before beginning the transformation of its building.


Curated by Çelenk Bafra and Levent Çalıkoğlu of Istanbul Modern, the exhibition presents a selection of paintings, sculptures, models, engravings, drawings, photographs, videos, and installations by thirty-four artists and collectives from various periods and disciplines.


Exploring how port areas are reflected in the visual arts, not only as geographical locations but also as sites of social and economic interaction, the exhibition delves into the symbolic and metaphorical aspects of the concept of “harbor”. Emphasizing Istanbul’s relationship with the sea and its ports, “HARBOR” shows the cultural and social life that developed on the coasts and around the ports of the city from the 19th century to the present, through the eyes of artists.


Participating Artists and Collectives: Nevin Aladağ, Meriç Algün Ringborg, Hüseyin B. Alptekin, Avni Arbaş, Volkan Aslan, Turgut Atalay, Antonio Cosentino, Darzanà (Feride Çiçekoğlu, Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu, Ertuğ Uçar), Hasan Deniz, Cevat Dereli, Abidin Dino, Feyhaman Duran, Mıgırdiç Givanian, Ara Güler, Nedim Günsür, Nuri İyem, Özer Kabaş, Borga Kantürk, Gülsün Karamustafa, Volkan Kızıltunç, Muhsin Kut, Mıgırdiç Melkon, Yasemin Özcan, Serkan Özkaya, Sébah & Joaillier, Arslan Sükan, Hüsnü Tengüz, Cemal Tollu, Selim Turan, Ömer Uluç, xurban_collective (Güven İncirlioğlu, Hakan Topal), Mümtaz Yener, Fausto Zonaro


İstanbul Modern Photograph Exhibition

“Roger Ballen: Retrospective” opens at Istanbul Modern, December 28, 2016 - June 4, 2017


Istanbul Modern Photography Gallery is hosting the works of American-born, South African artist Roger Ballen, whose photography evolved from a form of documentary photography into a distinctive and unique style he describes as “ballenesque”. Ballen employs drawing, painting, collage and sculptural techniques to create a new hybrid aesthetic, but one still firmly rooted in photography. The exhibition aims to follow the trajectory of the artist’s output since the 1980s.

The works of Roger Ballen, one of the most important contemporary photographers of the 21st century, will be on view in Turkey for the first time ever at the Istanbul Modern Photography Gallery from December 28, 2016 to June 4, 2017.

Organized with the support of the Eiger Foundation, the “Roger Ballen: Retrospective” reveals the evolution of Ballen’s work from a form of documentary photography into a unique style he describes as “ballenesque”.  Ballen turns the counterparts of reality and fiction in the art of photography upside down and creates a whole new hybrid aesthetic using drawing, painting, collage and sculpture that is also firmly rooted in photography.

Curated by Demet Yıldız, the exhibition presents a selection of works from seven Ballen series – “Dorps”, “Platteland”, “Outland”, “Shadow Chamber”, “Boarding House”, “Asylum of the Birds” and “Theatre of Apparitions” – as well as a new installation titled “Room of the Ballenesque”.


İstanbul Modern Current Exhibition

Artists' Film International 2017, March 8 – May 21, 2017

Istanbul Modern presents Artists’ Film International 2017, a program and exhibition featuring videos, animations, and short films by artists from around the world. Celebrating the program’s 10th anniversary, this year’s exhibition focuses on the concept of “collaboration” and will be on view between March 8 – May 21, 2017.

Exploring the theme of “collaboration”, the program and exhibition features videos, animations, and short films by 7 artists and groups from different parts of the world. “Artists’ Film International” takes place at Istanbul Modern’s Pop-Up Exhibition Area.

The exhibition features works by Cengiz Tekin from Turkey, Mikhail Karikis from the UK, Dario Azzellini & Oliver Ressler from Germany, Desire Machine Collective from India, Adrian Paci from Italy, Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley from California, USA, and Denise Ferreira Da Silva & Arjuna Neuman from Texas, USA. Curated by Çelenk Bafra (Director of Exhibitions and Programs, Istanbul Modern) and Senem R. Kantarcı (Assistant Curator), the exhibition focuses on how different types of collaboration are reflected in the artistic production process, as well as the transformative power of collaboration as a concept.

This year’s guest is Cengiz Tekin

This year Istanbul Modern has invited Cengiz Tekin to the program, an artist who lives and works in Diyarbakır. Tekin’s video “Just Before Paradise” will be on view throughout 2017 at Istanbul Modern as well as in international partner organizations. A conversation with Cengiz Tekin is also included in the program.

As part of their 10th anniversary celebrations, Artists’ Film International is organizing a special event and panel for the opening of the 57th Venice Biennale in May, which will include the screening of a selection of works by artists nominated by partner organizations in previous years.

Partnership with 16 art organizations

Initiated by the Whitechapel Gallery in 2008, Artists’ Film International continues this year in partnership with 16 art organizations from different parts of the world. Every year, partner organizations who share their knowledge and research on video art, select a work by an artist from their country around a specific theme. Following the curatorial work of each organization, the collaborative selection is presented to the audience in screenings or exhibitions. In previous years, Istanbul Modern participated in the program with videos by Ali Kazma, İnci Eviner, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Sefer Memişoğlu, Bengü Karaduman, Burak Delier, Vahap Avşar, and Zeyno Pekünlü

Artists’ Film International 2017 Program Partners

Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas, USA

Belgrade Cultural Centre, Belgrade, Serbia

CCAA / Centre for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan, Kabul, Afghanistan

Fundacion PRÓA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

GAMeC / Galleria D’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo, Italy

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA

Hanoi/DOCLAB, Hanoi, Vietnam

MAAT / Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon, Portugal

Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland

National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), Moscow, Russia

Video-Forum of Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), Berlin, Germany

Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong

Project 88, Mumbai, India

Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø, Norway

Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK


İstanbul Modern Current Exhibition

Masters of Cinema in Turkey: Lütfi Akad, May 18 - June 4, 2017

Istanbul Modern Cinema has initiated a new project titled “Masters of Cinema in Turkey”. The first guest for this series, which is devoted to founding directors of cinema in Turkey, is Lütfi Akad, who has come to be known as the “masterless master” and is a pioneer of the period referred to as the “Filmmakers’ Era” in the history of cinema in Turkey.

An archive exhibition will be presented within the scope of the project commemorating the director’s 100th birthday. Taking a look at the cinema of Lütfi Akad, whose filmography and 95-year life reflect the story of Turkish cinema, the exhibition which will be held in the cinema foyer brings together 100 pieces of archive material such as production stills, film stills, original scripts, and posters from Akad’s filmography that had not seen the light of day until now. This material is accompanied by the director’s words to describe his films. Akad’s aptitude for observation can be seen not just in his films but in his memoirs as well. Shedding light on the birth of Yeşilçam and its conditions, his writings and interviews serve as the narrator of this exhibition.

A film program will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition. The selection consists of 10 films including Vurun Kahpeye (Strike the Whore, 1949), Akad’s first film, and Dört Mevsim İstanbul (Four Seasons of Istanbul, 1990), the documentary, for which he stepped behind the camera for the last time in 1990 and which was lost for many years.

Curator: Müge Turan

Advisor: Burçak Evren

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