E-Flux Press Release

Istanbul Modern's exhibition reflects on the subject of ports and harbors from multiple dimensions, a theme that responds to the history of the museum building—a former dry cargo warehouse—and its location in the harbor area. While exploring visual artists elaborated on harbors and ports, not only as geographical locations but also as sites of social and economic interaction, the exhibition also delves into the symbolic and metaphorical aspects of the concept. Highlighting Istanbul’s relationship with the sea and ports, HARBOR takes a close look at the cultural and social life on Turkey’s coasts as conceived in works of art from the nineteenth century to the present.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2017


Istanbul Museum of Art (Turkey)

28.01 - 04.06.2017




Harbor, Istanbul Museum of Art

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2017. All Rights Reserved

The exhibition takes its name from the Turkish word for harbor, liman, whose different variations mean “gate," “threshold," “haven," and the like in the many languages spoken in the Mediterranean basin throughout history. HARBOR also borrows its title from an exhibition held in 1941 in Istanbul by a group of Academy artists that coalesced around a social realist approach. Known as "Harbor Painters," they chose to produce art by mingling with the populace and the exhibition in which they dealt with the daily lives and problems of sailors, fishermen, and other people working in the Istanbul harbor went down in art history as the Harbor Exhibition.

The exhibition features close to two hundred works by 34 artists and collectives from various disciplines and periods in Turkey. The design concept for the exhibition hall draws inspiration from seemingly disparate elements such as sea and land, decks and cabins; and from the abstraction of thresholds, gates, and passageways. A timeline conceived specifically for the exhibition highlights major transformations and turning points in Istanbul’s relationship with the sea and ports throughout from ancient times to 2017.

Artists: Nevin Aladağ, Meriç Algün Ringborg, Hüseyin B. Alptekin, Avni Arbaş, Volkan Aslan, Turgut Atalay, Antonio Cosentino, Darzanà (Feride Çiçekoğlu, Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu, Ertuğ Uçar), Hasan Deniz, Cevat Dereli, Abidin Dino, Burhan Doğançay, Feyhaman Duran, Mıgırdiç Givanian, Ara Güler, Nedim Günsür, Nuri İyem, Özer Kabaş, Borga Kantürk, Gülsün Karamustafa, Volkan Kızıltunç, Muhsin Kut, Mıgırdiç Melkon, Yasemin Özcan, Serkan Özkaya, Sébah & Joaillier, Arslan Sükan, Hüsnü Tengüz, Cemal Tollu, Selim Turan, Ömer Uluç, xurban_collective (Güven İncirlioğlu, Hakan Topal), Mümtaz Yener, Fausto Zonaro

Curators: Çelenk Bafra, Levent Çalıkoğlu


Exhibition 28 January - 4 June 2017. Istanbul Museum of Modern Art , Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. Liman İşletmeleri Sahası Antrepo No: 4 - 34433 Karaköy/İstanbul (Turkey). T +90 212 334 7300. Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 10am–6pm, Tuesday and Thursday 10am–8pm.





​Photo: Barış Aras & Elif Çakırlar​.