Istanbul’s ‘Little’ Elgiz Museum is Home to ‘Big’ Art

A small building that would be missed if not for the sculpture exhibition on its rooftop terrace, the Elgiz Museum offers office workers and curious tourists willing to make the trip a worthy scene.

A private museum located in Istanbul’s business district Maslak, the Elgiz Museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. A small building that is dwarfed by the skyscrapers surrounding it, the Elgiz Museum is home to a commendable contemporary art collection, and is the current location for a terrace exhibition on its rooftop.

The book accompanying the 13th terrace exhibition, The Future, on view until October 23, 2021, notes that the museum was founded by collectors Sevda and Can Elgiz as the first contemporary art museum in 2001: “This privately-owned non-profit institution took on a mission to support the development of contemporary art with a global identity in a two thousand square metre space open to the public.”

The terrace is accessible through the museum via an elevator or a staircase. The exhibition is part of an annual series of large-scale sculpture exhibitions that began in 2012. There were 113 artists who submitted 144 artworks to the exhibition, from among which 48 sculptures were chosen by an advisory board comprising Nilufer Ergin, Hasim Nur Gurel, Seyhun Topuz, Rahmi Aksungur and Can Elgiz.

Member of the advisory board Nilufer Ergin, who was one of the selectors evaluating the work submitted for display in The Future exhibition, writes in the foreword that “despite the pandemic that has swept the world, changed almost all our habits and left us on a threshold, this year we saw once again that artists protect life with art as they did last year.”

Ergin likens the Elgiz Museum terrace to an island, a utopia of sorts where hopes and dreams start for the future and “where we meet and resist with art. A present that opens to the future.” She also draws attention to the fact that having been exploited “with great brutality”, nature is dying and that it is more fragile than ever, “having lost the ability to repair itself” and thus lacking the means to build its future with its natural evolution.

She goes on to say that the conceptual framework of “Future” demanded of artists their “innovative and transformative” perspective, their desire to be “free and autonomous”, and their predictions for the future.

The exhibition is heavily indebted to the human form, with plenty of artists choosing to convey their hopes and dreams about the future through the use of children.

The artists in the exhibition are Sonay Acar, Turker Akman & Deniz Yilmaz Akman, Ibrahim Arslan, Kemal Ozkan Arslan, Gorkem Barshan, Mustafa Bulat, Tarik Ceddi, Vasilisa Chugunova, Ugur Cinel, Barkin Coskun, Esra Coskun, Ilayda Cetinay, Halil Daskesen, Canan Demir, Neslihan Demircioglu, Furkan Depeli, Ceylan Dokmen Sakin, Suat Dundar, Umit Turgay Durgun, Aslisah Erdem, Cagri Gozkonan, Nadide Gurcuoglu, Hale Feriha Hendekcigil, Abdulkadir Hocaoglu, Sercan Inam, Asli Irhan, Sesil Beatris Kalayciyan, Busra Kara, Nisa Karaca, Ilhan Kaya, Busra Kolmuk, Deniz Kulaksizoglu, Onul Kundakci, Irem Nalca, Gul Iclal Oner, Atilla Saban, Ozgur Mehmet Sakalli, Nilufer Satana, Caner Sengunalp, Esra Tasar, Ufuk Gunes Taskin, Mustafa Tugrul, Muzaffer Tuncer, Tolga Turan, Ozgur Turhan, Taha Ustundag, Arif Yildiz, and Pinar Yilmaz.

The Elgiz Museum’s terrace exhibition can be viewed Tuesdays to Fridays from 10am to 5 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. During the Eid holiday, the museum will be closed between July 17 to July 26, 2021.

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