Istanbul Modern Berlin

Works from 1928 to 2008 from the collections of the Istanbul Modern. An exhibition on the occasion of “Istanbul Next Wave. Simultaneity – Parallels – Opposites”

12 November 2009 to 17 January 2010

“Istanbul Modern Berlin” is exhibiting eighty works that represent outstanding milestones in the development of modern Turkish art. These works have been drawn from the distinguished and comprehensive collection of the Istanbul Modern Museum of Art. The survey presents Istanbul’s current art production as part of the historical development of the twentieth century, including the controversial debate over Western modern art between 1920 and 1950, the emancipation of the artists’ own aesthetic positions from the 1960s to the 1980s, all the way to the internationally networked contemporary art scene of the past twenty years.

“Istanbul Modern Berlin” forms part of the “Istanbul Next Wave” exhibition series on the current art scene in the Turkish metropolis. This joint project by the city of Istanbul and the Academy of the Arts encompasses three exhibitions that can be seen in the Academy buildings on Pariser Platz and Hanseatenweg as well as in the Martin-Gropius-Bau. “Istanbul Next Wave” represents the climax of Berlin’s events marking the twentieth anniversary of the Berlin-Istanbul city partnership and marks the international kick-off to a programme with which Istanbul is presenting itself as the 2010 European Capital of Culture in cooperation with Kültür A.Ş.

“Istanbul Modern Berlin” provides the basis for the curatorial team’s efforts under the direction of Çetin Güzelhan to present Turkish art in a new way that will transcend the traditional cliché of “delayed modernity”. This modern movement, which reaches far back into the fifteenth century Ottoman Empire, has always found itself in an ambivalent dialogue with Western Europe. Caught between attraction and close exchange on the one side, and exclusion and confrontation on the other, an independent modern movement emerged that picked up speed after the founding of the young Turkish Republic by Kemal Pasha. But this movement, with its discontinuities, complex layers, cultural force and uniqueness, also laid the foundation for contemporary Turkish art and a post-modern society with an identity that is at once Islamic and modern.

Over the past centuries, Turkey has experienced an astounding development that has been characterised by a remarkable opening to the outside world. In the Martin-Gropius-Bau visitors will be able to see this rapid development in the visual arts from the early twentieth century to the present day.


Haluk Akakçe, 1970; Erol Akyavas, 1932–1999; Özdemir Altan, 1931; Avni Arbas, 1919–2003; Hale Asaf, 1905/1906–1938; Bedri Baykam, 1957; Ramazan Bayrakoglu, 1966; Aliye Berger, 1903–1974; Nurullah Berk, 1906–1982; Sabri Berkel, 1907–1993; Semiha Berksoy, 1910–2004; Ferruh Basaga, 1914; Bubi, 1956; Cihat Burak, 1915–1994; Ibrahim Çalli, 1882–1960; Ali Avni Celebi, 1904–1933; Taner Ceylan, 1967; Adnan Çoker, 1927; Cevat Dereli, 1900–1989; Nejat Melih Devrim, 1923–1995; Ismet Dogan, 1957; Burhan Dogançay, 1929; Feyhaman Duran, 1886–1970; Ayse Erkmen, 1949; IInci Eviner, 1956; Bedri Rahmi Eyüboglu, 1911–1975; Leyla Gediz, 1974; Hamit Görele, 1894–1981; Mehmet Güleryüz, 1938; Neset Günal, 1923–2002; Nedim Günsür, 1924–1994; Nazmi Ziya Güran, 1881–1937; Mustafa Horasan, 1965; Ergin Inan, 1943; Balkan Naci Islimyeli, 1947; Dogan Ismet, 1957; Nuri Iyem, 1915–2005; Zeki Faik Izer, 1905–1988; Gülsün Karamustafa, 1946; Zeki Kocamemi, 1900–1959; Komet, 1941; Temür Köran, 1960; Irfan Önürmen, 1958; Erkan Özgen, 1971; Sener Özmen, 1971; Hikmet Onat, 1882–1977; Ahmet Oran, 1957; Mübin Orhon, 1924–1981; Mustafa Pancar, 1964; Orhan Peker, 1926–1978; Sarkis, 1938; Yusuf Taktak, 1951; Hale Tenger, 1960; Cemal Tollu, 1899–1968; Canan Tolon, 1955; Selim Turan, 1915–1994; Ömer Uluç, 1931; Adnan Varinca, 1918; Nil Yalter, 1938; Pinar Yolaçan, 1981; Fahr el Nissa Zeid, 1901–1991


Çetin Güzelhan is a curator and art historian. Following his studies at the Academy of Applied Art in Istanbul, he studied as a DAAD fellow at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg. He followed this up with coursework at the University of Hamburg combined with exchange semesters at the Aby Warburg Institute in London and at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. He conducted research on Aby Warburg in the archive of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul between 1992 and 1994. Since 1984 he has been involved in numerous curatorial and art historical activities in Germany and Turkey. Çetin Güzelhan has served as the curatorial and artistic adviser to the “Contemporary Istanbul” art fair since 2007. He is the managing curator of “Istanbul Next Wave”.

Levent Çalikoglu is a curator and art critic. He is currently the chief curator of the Istanbul Modern Museum of Art. Çalikoglu studied art history at the University of Ankara (Bachelor of Arts) and museum studies at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul (Master of Arts). At Yildiz Technical University he is a lecturer in the department of art management. He has published numerous articles on modern and contemporary Turkish art. Since 1998 he has been the curator of national and international exhibitions for various institutions and museums, including the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Akbank Culture and Art Center, Yildiz Technical University Art Gallery, alle in Istanbul and Space Triangle Gallery, London. He most recently prepared the exhibition “New Works New Horizons” at the Istanbul Modern (2009). Levent Çalikoglu is currently the creator of the “Istanbul Modern Berlin” exhibition in the Martin-Gropius-Bau together with Çetin Güzelhan within the framework of “Istanbul Next Wave”.

Organizer: Kulturprojekte Berlin. A project by the city of Istanbul and the Academy of the Arts in cooperation with Kulturprojekte Berlin.
An exhibition on the occasion of 20 years town twinning Berlin–Istanbul. Made possible by a grant from Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin.
Curators: Çetin Güzelhan (Managing curator “Istanbul Next Wave”) together with Levent Çalikoglu
Media partners: rbb Fernsehen, rbb Inforadio, rbb Kulturradio, zitty, Metropol FM