Exhibit looks into world of architect
The Istanbul Research Institute’s “Imaginary World of A Paper Architect: Nazimî Yaver Yenal” exhibition celebrates architect Nazimî Yaver Yenal, a unique representative of 20th century architecture in Turkey.
Based on his exceptional archive that reflects his nearly 50-year-long career, the exhibition brings light to a typical representative of the early-Republic generation that epitomized idealist principles.
The exhibition, curated by Büke Uras, is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue that includes Uras’ foreword as well as texts that look at Yenal’s life story and works from different perspectives by M. Baha Tanman, Prof. Behçet Ünsal and Prof. Ataman Demir.
Emphasizing that Yenal’s unexecuted designs relate a powerful tale, Uras said: “Yaver’s depictive fantasies and drawings are in flawless command of both the repertoire of classical architecture and modernism; they correspond to imaginary designs entirely free of the factors associated with construction and derive their strength from this freedom.
His unconstructed and unshared designs privatize architecture, a public domain of art. Shaped by imagination, Yenal’s aesthetic is inevitably defined in connection with personal codes. In providing a real understanding of Yenal’s drawings, this subjectivity forces us to read not only into the designs, but their creator as well.”
Having spent his adolescence in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, Yenal was trained at the School of Fine Arts, particularly under the influence of his teacher Giulio Mongeri’s notion of eclecticism and graduated valedictorian from the school.
Shaped by the consecutive competitions he won, his career evolved through the experience he gained in Paris and Berlin, where he was sent on a state scholarship extended as part of the culture policies of the early Republic years.
He thrived and matured as an instructor at the Academy of Fine Arts, as he grew close with a handful of avant-garde German architects gathered in Istanbul. Yenal’s first position upon working at the Academy in 1932 was as an assistant to Austrian architect Philipp Ginther as instructor of Interior Architecture. Yenal continued his career as an instructor, until his retirement in 1969.
The massive archive he created of his drawings was first preserved at his private room at the Academy and later in his house following his retirement. After his death, it was dispersed.