This year, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) commissioned the first National Pavilion of Turkey at Venice Architecture Biennale, choosing Murat Tabanlıoğlu as Curator, whose Project will be titled ‘Places of Memory’.

Departing from three areas of Istanbul, Taksim-Salıpazarı, Bâb-ı Âli and Büyükdere Boulevard, places that acted as thresholds during different stages of the curator’s life, the project will focus on the concept of place itself, incorporated with the subjective vision of the exhibitors in the team, Ali Taptık, Alper Derinboğaz, Candaş Şişman, Metehan Özcan and Serkan Taycan.

Murat Tabanlıoğlu explained the conceptual framework of the project : “Rather than conducting a historical account of modern epoch in Turkey, presenting an exhaustive catalogue, or trying to capture its unique local attributes, ‘Places of Memory’attempts to explore the main theme of the biennial via perceptions and experiences.

The project idea departs from three areas of Istanbul: the first comprises Taksim, where I was born and grew up. Taksim is also an important square, with a constantly changing appearance because of partial and inconsistent interventions. The Atatürk Cultural Center, situated on the narrower end of the square, is a symbol of modern architecture in Turkey. My father, Hayati Tabanlıoğlu, was the architect. This first area spreads out across a wider zone, and continues downhill from the square to the coast, passes along the warehouses designed by Sedad Hakkı Eldem, an important representative of 20th century architecture in Turkey, reaching Salıpazarı harbor. Like many other areas in Istanbul, this area, too, is undergoing transformation. The GalataPort project (a master plan proposal, 2001) developed by Tabanlıoğlu Architects for the area and the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, which we transformed from a warehouse into a museum (2004), were among projects that triggered change in this area.

The second area is Bâb-ı Âli, where I spent my youth. Starting in Sirkeci, the area used to host the headquarters of important newspapers and printing houses in Turkey along two sides of the Cağaloğlu slope. I used to pass through this world every day since I studied in a high school in the same area.

The final one is Büyükdere Boulevard and its environs. This area, once lined with fields and orchards, later with light industry buildings, today is in juxtaposition with the Central Business District, featuring high-rise buildings especially between Levent-Maslak axes that connect main transportation routes of the city.

We chose not to write in advance the story that might emerge from this project. We will see the outcome together. This is a conscious decision that keeps us on edge, but one that also holds potentials.”

A series of panels will be held in the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia with the participant countries. Turkey will participate to this panel with a large international student workshop. Murat Tabanlıoğlu is getting organised for the programme with graduate students who are enrolled to his studio in the 2014 spring semester at Istanbul Bilgi University Architectural Design Department. A group of students from Politecnico di Milano and students from various architecture schools in Turkey will participate to the workshop programme that includes an exhibition and discussion of student works in Venice during the biennial.

A book, designed by Aslı Altay (Future Anecdotes Istanbul) is prepared to accompany the project based on interviews with Murat Tabanlıoğlu, Pelin Derviş (Project Coordinatorr), Ali Taptık, Alper Derinboğaz, Candaş Şişman, Metehan Özcan andSerkan Taycan, conducted by Luca Molinari, the curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia in 2010.

  • Open:
    Saturday, 07 June 2014
  • Close:
    Sunday, 23 November 2014
  • Address:
    Sale d’Armi Nord, Arsenale, Castello, 30122, Venezia
  • Mail:
  • Phone:
    212 334 08 43
  • Web:
    Pavilion of Turkey
  • Photo credits:
    1. View from the observation deck of Sapphire, Levent, Istanbul, 2014, photo by Ali Taptik, courtesy of the artist; 2. Notes on ‘Places of Memory’, 2014, photo by Ali Taptik, courtesy of the artist; 3. Murat Tabanlıoğlu, Curator. Courtesy of IKSV

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