The Pavilion of Turkey at Biennale Architettura 2014

on Tuesday, 10 June 2014. Posted in June, July, ---2014---

Related Article: Moving Image expands to Istanbul


On 5 June 2014, Turkey inaugurated its debut exhibition, Places of Memory, at its long-term pavilion at Arsenale, one of the two main venues of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia. On the initiation of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and with the contribution of 21 supporters, Turkey obtains a long-term venue, from 2014 to 2034, at the Biennale di Venezia, one of world's leading contemporary art and architecture exhibitions.

Murat Tabanlıoğlu curated the project together with project coordinator Pelin Derviş and a team of exhibitors, Alper Derinboğaz, Metehan Özcan, Candaş Şişman, Ali Taptık and Serkan Taycan.

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 at this year’s Biennale Architettura in Venice attempts to explore the main theme of the biennial via perceptions and experiences.

According to Murat Tabanlıoğlu, the project idea departs from three areas of Istanbul: The first comprises Taksim, where the curator 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. Murat’s 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 they 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 Tabanlıoğlu spent his 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, he used to pass through this world every day since he 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 CBD, featuring high-rise buildings especially between Levent-Maslak axes that connect main transportation routes of the city.

A detailed discussion of these places that acted as thresholds during different stages of Tabanlıoğlu’s life—or in a sense, his memory—seeded the first layers of the conceptual framework. The focus in the exhibition is not necessarily on these places, but rather on the concept of place itself, incorporated with the subjective vision of every exhibitor in the team. The works interact with each other via different approaches based on different scales and mediums.

Places of Memory, Pavilion of Turkey
Places of Memory, Pavilion of Turkey, 14th Venice International Architecture Biennale, 2014
Installation Photo: Vladimiro Speranzoni

Places of Memory, Pavilion of Turkey
Places of Memory, Pavilion of Turkey, 14th Venice International Architecture Biennale, 2014
Installation Photo: Italo Rondinella

Places of Memory, Pavilion of Turkey
Places of Memory, Pavilion of Turkey, 14th Venice International Architecture Biennale, 2014
Installation Photo: Italo Rondinella

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