Istanbul as far as the eye can see

Istanbul as far as the eye can see
Istanbul as far as the eye can see

📩 20/09/2023 10:14

Meşher invites the audience to look at the skyline of Istanbul from one end to the other with the exhibition "Istanbul as Far as the Eye Can See". Presenting sections from five centuries, the exhibition includes over 100 works, from engravings to rare books, from oil paintings to photographs, as well as panoramic and wide-angle city representations, some of which are exhibited in Istanbul for the first time.

Meşher, Istanbul's leading interdisciplinary art venue, brings together its visitors with the exhibition titled Istanbul as Far as the Eye Can See: Landscapes from Five Centuries. The exhibition, which will open on September 20, is curated by Şeyda Çetin and Ebru Esra Çözüm. The exhibition, consisting of various rare works from the Ömer Koç Collection, covers a period from the 15th century to the first quarter of the 20th century, when Istanbul was the Ottoman capital. The exhibition, which is a rich visual record of the city, includes over 100 works, from paintings showing wide-angle views of Istanbul to engravings, from rare books to albums, from panoramic photographs to Heirloom Istanbul objects.

The producers of the works in the exhibition also vary greatly. Different techniques come to the fore in the works produced by Westerners, from ship captains to travelers, from soldiers to ambassadors, from writers, painters and photographers to architects and city planners, sometimes for political or military purposes, sometimes for aesthetic purposes. Quotations from written sources accompany the images, which bear traces of the diplomatic relations of the period in which they were made, the transformations of the city, its multicultural structure and social life. These quotations create the opportunity for a dialogue between the perspectives of Western authors and artistic productions from 19th century and early 20th century Ottoman/Turkish literature. Rather than glorifying the city again, the exhibition invites us to examine the diversity of the narrative and the diversity of depictions.

Istanbul from the eyes of Westerners

Panorama of Istanbul, created by the British painter Henry Aston Barker, based on the sketches he drew from the top of the Galata Tower in 1799, and an engraving of the drawing made by Philipp Franz von Gudenus, who was in Istanbul as the embassy secretary, from the roof of the Swedish Embassy in 1741, by Joseph Schranz. Bosphorus panorama from the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea is a few of the works... It is also possible to see the dedicated album bearing the artist's signature of the photograph dated May 360 taken from the Bayezid Tower by James Robertson, who went down in history as the artist who took the oldest known 1854-degree panoramic photographs of Istanbul.

In the Istanbul as Far as the Eye Can See exhibition, the panoramic works that allow you to watch the city from one end to the other also contain interesting details. Tradesmen in local clothes, women riding in ox carts, Westerners distinguished by their hats, children and the city's four-legged animals stand out as elements that complete the silhouette of Istanbul.

The oldest work dates back to 1493…

Curators Şeyda Çetin and Ebru Esra Çözüm shared the following about the exhibition spread over three floors: “While including the works in the selection, we took care to include views from as many different points and different districts of Istanbul as possible. We exhibit more than 1493 works on three floors of Meşher, the oldest of which is Hartmann Schedel's Liber chronicarum (1922) and the most recent one is Alexandre V. Pankoff's album (1924-100), which contains original designs and paintings. The themes and stories that come to the fore are not separated by sharp boundaries, on the contrary, they feed and complement each other. "We believe that revealing the relationships between the works, rather than evaluating them according to their periods and techniques, will contribute to the effort to understand this multi-layered city."

Meşher Director Nilüfer H. Konuk said that they wanted the exhibition to reach a wide audience. Konuk said, “Some of these works, some of which are the earliest prints, the only surviving copies, or pioneering examples of their period, are being exhibited in Istanbul for the first time. “We are very pleased to present these rare works from Ömer Koç's valuable collection to the masses in Meşher.” said.

The exhibition book was published simultaneously

In the exhibition catalog published in Turkish and English along with the exhibition, attention is drawn to the diversity of depictions of Istanbul with the contributions of experts in the field. Catalog texts belong to Sven Becker, Briony Llewellyn, Bahattin Öztuncay and Claude Piening. The book begins with the foreword of Ömer Koç, and includes the article in which curators Ebru Esra Salesman and Şeyda Çetin introduce the exhibition, as well as Prof. Dr. Zeynep Çelik's article titled "We are the city of Istanbul, we are beautiful" is included.

The Istanbul As Far As The Eye Can See exhibition, which can be seen until May 26, 2024, will be accompanied by a series of programs such as adult and children's workshops prepared by the curators and the Meşher team. The current event calendar can be accessed on Meşher's website and social media channels.

Ebru Esra Seller Şeyda Çetin