YEARNING-FILLED ROOMS – THE EXHIBITION CONCEPT

A gigantic city plan of Istanbul is laid on the floor of the flat hosting the exhibiton. The part where the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara are located are 8 cm higher above the floor; thousands of glass marbles representing the sea flow glitteringly through the canal. The canal both represents water and reminds us of our memories of playing marbles as children. You may walk on the marbles if you wish. Each room in the flat has a theme, a story. You can see some of the paintings I’ve completed within the last 20 years in Istanbul and in Kayseri on the walls, most of which have been sprayed with colorful paints by means of a pesticide pump sprayer. The paintings have been distributed on the walls with reference to their colours, motives as well as the districts in the city plan on the floor.

Room 1

CHAOS ISTANBUL

The moment you open the door, you step into a tumult and turmoil engendered by audio-visual installations. The noise of car horns, the sound of people speaking loudly and shouting as well as many other objects are arranged so as to present you with an immense, chaotic Istanbul. Inadequately mounted water pipes, an unfinished brick wall, pieces of wood patched together with nails. . . and unpleasant odors await you here.

Room 2

BORDERLAND

The first anteroom that appears before you is like a door which opens to the Europe right in the heart of Istanbul. This is the Palace of France through which you step into a garden of Eden upon wriggling yourself out of the chaos. The place where, in my teenage years, I saw the Europe within Istanbul for the first time; where I had my first dreams about a bicultural life and felt that such a life could indeed be possible; the place which for me is the symbol of a bicultural existence. . . That was where I understood that I could, as a person under the influence of two different cultures, lead a life that embraces both of them simultaneously and in the same place . . .

Room 3

KAYSERI

This is the room alloted to my childhood days that I spent in Kayseri until I was 10 years old; a place devoted to childhood feelings. The room which makes that feeling of freedom felt, which accompanied those days of my childhood in which we spent running through the fields and playing. All the pictures, photographs and objects exhibited here are reminiscent of those days: Apricot trees with their fruits hanging from their branches, the reddish tips of the tree branches, the smell of Judas trees; the lilac colour of irises at the cemetery, the visits we paid to the hamam with my mother and siblings, the sparrows mastering how to fly, freshly roasted chickpeas . . .
On one of the walls, the view from the balcony of the house in which I spent my childood is depicted: Mount Argeus with all its magnificence and before it, the ugly apartment buildings built in the 70’s. A huge collage of black and white photographs covers the wall. In the windows of the houses are wooden boxes which symbolize the games and plays of my childhood: jacks, tipcat, toys made out of copper wires, peg top, spinning top, slingshot, crown corks, actor/actress cards, cigarette boxes, etc. On the walls, there are also some photos from the years I spent in Kayseri as I was growing up.

Room 4

MÜNCHEN

The room across the Kayseri Room represents Germany; more specifically, my very first room in Germany. A jerry-built shanty equipped with nothing but a bunk bed and a metal cupboard, located in the middle of a cluster housing construction site where 200 Turkish construction workers lived in bunkhouses. A single child among 200 wistful Turkish construction workers on the construction site: me! Those bunkhouses with 20-25 rooms, all facing a long corridor are also the host to the many yearnings of those men living in a foreign land: Sounds of arabesque music, family photos adorning the walls, pictures and photos reminiscent of their homeland. You can take some time to watch „Daktari“ and „Bonanza“ on the two vintage TV’s from the 70’s if you wish.

Room 5

STUCK IN LIMBO

The room of wailful looks and unrest. The place of unsteadiness, of being at a loss as to what to do and of being in limbo. The search for an identity; the challenges and troubles brought about by being lost amidst two cultures. Not knowing where one belongs or who one is. The atmosphere of intolerance and narrow-mindedness that surrounded me in Kayseri; people preaching about ways of life despite their unfamiliarity with the rest of the world and lack of any efforts towards getting acquainted with it.
I wanted to depict how an Armenian neighbourhood was destroyed with a scene I personally witnessed many years ago and have never been able to forget: Children standing on the ruins of Armenian houses. . . On one of the children is a t-shirt with a Turkish flag printed on it and on the front walls of the remaining houses it reads „Ruins for Sale“. I couldn’t help but touch upon the intolerance which devastated such a grand culture.

Room 6

Making peace with the past

During my childhood and adolescence, I always dreamed of building a house out of stones taken from the remnants of the old houses of our village. When my father exchanged his white Ford car that he had brought from Germany for a vineyard on the foot of Argeus, I got the chance to realize this childhood dream by building a house for my parents there. Throughout the course of construction I stayed on the construction site, walked barefoot on the soil and painted pictures for long hours every day. I made peace with Kayseri while I was discovering my passion for art.

Room 7

The room of YEARNING

This room, allows everyone to make discoveries within themselves. In this room, a big table with paints and brushes on it will be available for the use of visitors at all times. Those who wish to do so may paint the walls and close the door for some alone time to discover and listen to the child within them.

Room 8

SKYLIGHT

Istanbul as the spot of yearnings. The city where yearnings arise day by day. Movies from the Turkish cinema (Yeşilçam) in which the theme of homesickness, the longing felt for one’s loved ones and children is treated recurrently will be shown in this room.

Room 9

Discovering ISTANBUL

We designed this room (corridor) with the intention of looking at such a beautiful city as Istanbul through the eyes of the child within. We wanted the thousands of glass marbles representing the Golden Horn to act as mediators for us to be saturated by this fascinating city in a childlike manner. The neon-light sign on the door across the corridor that reads “Istanbul makes me happy” signifies that you are about to step into a space whose walls are adorned with comments made by people of letters, artchitects and artists about Istanbul.

Room 10

The Room of Bridges

In this room, our wish is to point at how imporant it is for our lives to build bridges. Thus, you will find examples pertaining to important people who committed their lives to establishing peace among people, building bridges and reuniting segregated countries and communities.

Room 11+12

Cultural encounters

With all its glamour, Istanbul is the city of opposites, differences and extremes that attract each other. Room number eleven represents Turkey with the historical peninsula, whereas room number twelve represents Europe with Beyoglu, Pera and Sisli where the West has put its stamp on. Here you will find pictures which specifically bring out the city’s silhouette. On the map that is laid on the floor, all important buildings are marked, including the one used for offices and businesses, most of these that count with Dallas Building Maintinance to keep everything in place. Glass marbles symbolizing the sea, flow towards the front side of the flat, in the direction of the window. The Golden Horn flowing into both the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara diverts the visitors‘ looks towards the city, through the window.
Where the yearning ends: Tatar Beyi Street, Nr. 26. This is the very place where the 25-year-long yearning came to an end. This is my house, bought in 1996. This place is like a small temple that shaped fate for me.
The comfortable armchairs placed in these two rooms offer an excellent spot for conversation breaks and even for appointments. These rooms have been designed as spaces open for activities of all kinds which reflect multiculturalism and global citizenship. The big table located between the rooms number eleven and number twelve, right on top of the Golden Horn, functions as the big table of genuine encounters. This table will be the host to many events, meetings and encounters throughout the exhibition.