Before its grand opening and presented here as a preview on IC, the Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM) will open next month in Eskişehir, a university town in the northwest of Turkey. This major new museum has been designed by Japanese ‘Kengo Kuma and Associates’ to beautifully carry the history and memory of its town.
Architecture businessman Erol Tabanca is the instigating collector of the expansive new wooden jungle and as Chairperson of a Turkish construction company, facilitates its major support of contemporary art in Turkey. The mission therefore of Odunpazari Modern Museum, is to welcome international audiences to discover its significant collection of modern and contemporary art spanning the 1950s to the present day.
Brought together over a period of 15 years, Tabanca’s collection reflects his interest not only in championing pioneering twentieth-century figures, but also in supporting the next generation of contemporary artists, such as Burcu Yağcıoğlu and Yağız Özgen. Now housed at OMM, the collection features more than a thousand works of art and offers an emphasis on Turkish artists. Acclaimed names such as Burhan Doğançay, Canan Tolon, Azade Köker, Nejad Melih Devrim, Erol Akyavaş, Haluk Akakçe, Taner Ceylan, İnci Eviner, Gülsün Karamustafa and Erdağ Aksel can be discovered. Such positions sit alongside international names, including Peter Zimmerman, Jaume Plensa, Marc Quinn, Robert Longo, Aron Demetz, Julian Opie, Sarah Morris, Stephan Kaluza, Hans Op De Beeck, Massimo Giannoni, Seon Ghi Bahk and Alfred Haberpointner. As for the architect in Tabanca, this resides in his fixation with sculpture and the deep connection it can create with its surroundings. The collection features sculptures by Aron Demetz, Jaume Plensa, SeungMo Park and Assa Kauppi, among others.
OMM’s inaugural exhibition is curated by Turkish curator, Haldun Dostoğlu and will showcase a selection of around 200 works by 60 leading artists from Turkey. The exhibition will further include a new site-specific commission by Japanese bamboo artist, Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. Haldun mentioned: “When curating OMM’s inaugural exhibition, I was inspired by three truths: Eskisehir will gain its first modern art museum, Erol Tabanca will fulfil his dream of sharing his art collection with the public, and this wonderful collection – much of which has been behind closed doors for a number of years – will be showcased in its entirety for the first time.”
As for the building itself, with its distinctive stacked timber design, the 4,500m2 building draws inspiration from Odunpazari’s traditional Ottoman wooden cantilevered houses that are synonymous with the district and pays homage to the town’s history as a thriving wood market. Along with several other city museums in the surrounding area, OMM has created a museum square and public meeting place in the town.
Here in Erol Tabanca’s first Online Exhibition with IC, we present an insight into works of the permanent collection, as well as the inaugural commission, that will be on view at the Odunpazari Modern Museum.
Positioned at the cross-section between history and modernity, between the East and West, Turkey has produced some of the most interesting art and artists of the last 70 years. Through opening up the collection, we hope to draw international attention to Turkish art and artists and reaffirm their position in the canon of modern and contemporary art. By working with different curators, the museum will reflect this diversity through its exhibition programme.