Istanbul Modern opens new museum building

Istanbul Modern opens new museum building

Istanbul Modern opens new museum building

The new building and exhibitions of Istanbul Modern, Türkiye’s first modern and contemporary art museum, has opened on May 4. The official opening ceremony of the museum will be held later.

Built with the joint contribution of the museum’s founding sponsor Eczacıbaşı Group and its main sponsor Doğuş Group-Bilgin Holding, the new building of Istanbul Modern was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), founded by Renzo Piano and has made the architecture of iconic culture and art institutions and museums around the world.

The new building, the first project of Renzo Piano in Türkiye, was designed to provide a qualified place for all kinds of cultural, artistic and educational activities in Istanbul.

Covering an area of 10,500 square meters, the five-floor museum building consists of large exhibition halls, multi-purpose spaces, offices, areas for education and different cultural events and other activities.

Inspired by the shimmering waters of the Bosphorus, the building, with its façade covered with three-dimensionally shaped aluminum panels, creates light and shadow plays with the changing sunlight and reflections from the water during the day.

On the ground floor, which is free of charge in order to create more space for visitors, there is a library, information desks, training workshops, a cafe and a store.

With a transparent design, the ground floor allows visitors to establish a strong connection between Tophane Park and the coastline.

The transparent glass fence under the main building offers sheltered sections for children’s workshops as well as activity areas where the sculptures will be exhibited outdoors.

The transparency on the ground floor also exists in the foyer areas on the upper floors, allowing visitors to have visual interaction with the building’s surroundings.

On the first floor of the building, there is a photo gallery, short-term exhibition hall and training and activity rooms. The restaurant on the same floor has a terrace overlooking the Bosphorus and the Historical Peninsula. The collection and temporary exhibition halls of the museum are located on the second floor.

Located at a special location where the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn meet, Istanbul Modern also has a reflecting pool that completely covers the roof of the building.

New works created for the new building

Specially invited by Istanbul Modern for the new museum building, Olafur Eliasson has produced a site-specific installation. Consisting of three pieces, the work spreads over different floors in the stairwell in the center of the building, offering the viewer a dynamic museum experience.

Refik Anadol’s site-specific installation titled “The Infinity Room: The Bosphorus” focuses on data and themes related to the instant meteorological transformation in the Bosphorus. The artwork processes instant data using digital technologies in a room with mirrors and creates moving visuals.

Offering a comprehensive selection from Istanbul Modern’s collection, an exhibition titled “Floating Islands” contains works, many of which are exhibited on the first time.

“Floating Islands” welcomes visitors to the new museum with more than 270 works by 108 artists and two artist duos.

The permanent exhibition gallery presents a chronological selection that traces the development and transformation of Türkiye’s art scene after 1945 through moments in art history and a variety of works and media. Touching on different subjects and approaches, from figurative paintings to installations and videos, the selection reveals continuities in the art scene as well as interactions between artists.

The temporary exhibition gallery features thematic presentations of works mostly created after the 2000s. Organized by topic, this selection highlights individual artistic responses to basic themes like city, human, nature, borders, geographies, politics, culture, sound and music while encouraging viewers to recall situations and events that impact the present.

“In Another Place” presents never-seen-before portraits by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, one of the most authentic filmmakers of today’s cinema. The exhibition brings together works that are unlike what the artist has created so far: 22 portraits taken by Ceylan in Türkiye and geographies around the world as diverse as India, Georgia, China, Morocco and Russia.

“Always Here” showcases a selection of works from the museum collection acquired by the Women Artists Fund, established by Istanbul Modern in 2016 to support the production of women artists in Türkiye, increase public awareness of their work, and strengthen their representation.

While “Renzo Piano: Genius Loci” focuses on the architecture of the new museum building and its design and construction process, which spanned six years, “Constructing Architecture” focuses on the construction of the building through the lens of Cemal Emden, one of the most important architectural photographers of our time.