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“Reflections of a Transformation: Towards a New Istanbul Modern”

The construction of Istanbul Modern’s new building through the lens of Bülent Eczacıbaşı

“Reflections of a Transformation: Towards a New Istanbul Modern” 

Bülent Eczacıbaşı’s photography exhibition on view for visitors at Istanbul Modern’s former temporary space in Beyoğlu between 12 May and 3 July 2022.

Istanbul Modern, Turkey’s first museum of modern and contemporary art, has a new building designed by the renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano. The construction process of this new addition to Istanbul’s iconic cityscape has been documented by Bülent Eczacıbaşı, a passionate photographer. Bülent Eczacıbaşı’s photographs are now on view in “Reflections of a Transformation: Towards a New Istanbul Modern”, an exhibition designed and curated by Bülent Erkmen. 

Organized by subject, color, form, expression and other elements of this kind, the exhibition examines the construction process from different perspectives through moments captured by Bülent Eczacıbaşı’s lens. 

While walking through the exhibition arranged on three floors, visitors are transported to the new building’s interior to see scenes that have vanished with the end of the construction process, never to reoccur or be seen again. On the ground floor, visitors are welcomed by photographs that provide clues to the exhibition. Photographs on the first floor offer views of the exterior from the interior of the new museum building. Photographs on the second floor feature portraits of people who labored on the building’s construction, leaving traces of themselves throughout, interlaced with interior spaces.

While shedding light on the early stages of Istanbul Modern's new building, the photographs emphasize the human effort in construction and reveal unseen, never-to-be-repeated moments of the process. Taking place at Istanbul Modern’s former temporary space in Beyoğlu, which hosted the museum for three years, the exhibition creates a link between the two buildings and reflects Bülent Eczacıbaşı’s perspective of Istanbul Modern’s journey to its final and permanent site. 

In his preface to the exhibition brochure, Bülent Eczacıbaşı states that Istanbul Modern’s vision for its new building is to enrich Turkey’s cultural heritage with a structure combining technology, human labor and a superior aesthetic. He also expressed his pleasure at having had the opportunity of photographing the construction process at regular intervals. Photographer, lecturer and author Orhan Cem Çetin penned the brochure essay, in which he explains how the element of curiosity in photography is related to the exhibition. 

Visitor information 
The exhibition is being held at İstanbul Modern’s former temporary space in Beyoğlu located on Meşrutiyet Caddesi No: 99 Beyoğlu and will be open to visitors every day except Mondays 10.00-19.00 hours until 3 July 2022. 

About Bülent Eczacıbaşı 

Bülent Eczacıbaşı is Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Eczacıbaşı Holding. He also chairs the Board of Trustees of the Istanbul Modern Art Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art (İKSV).
Bülent Eczacıbaşı has authored two works: “A Rip in the Sea: New Responsibilities for Business” (2018), and a book of photography titled “From the Road” (2020), in which he shares his perspective of the stories of people from different cultures. Bülent Eczacıbaşı’s photographs are also shared on his official Instagram account bulent.eczacibasi