press release

Istanbul Modern is celebrating the 102nd birthday of Fikret Muallâ, one of the leading names in Turkish painting, with a comprehensive exhibition of his work. For the first time ever, this retrospective is bringing together 243 works of art from 35 collections, which it is presenting both thematically and historically so as to reflect every dimension of Fikret Muallâ’s unique world.

The exhibition aims to turn overturn the common perception of the artist deriving from his unusual, turbulent and bohemian lifestyle, and is the most comprehensive retrospective ever of Fikret Muallâ in terms of number of works involved.

The exhibition creates associations between Fikret Muallâ’s understanding of painting and diverse themes and includes the artist’s gouaches, watercolors and sketches as well as a photobiography of pictures taken by Ara Güler.

Sponsored by Eti, the Fikret Muallâ Retrospective will open on 14 April in the Temporary Exhibition Gallery. This is the first retrospective of İstanbul Modern and with it, the museum is launching its first touring educational exhibition and audio tour as well as a documentary and alphabet book produced specially for the exhibition. Also for the first time, the museum has organized the printing of selected Fikret Muallâ paintings on “Tutku” cookie tins and tissue paper boxes produced respectively by Eti and Selpak.

During the exhibition, İstanbul Modern will hold a variety of activities and events in its educational unit, library, auditorium, and mobile exhibition vehicle. Special exhibition products will be available for purchase in the museum shops.

Curated by Haşim Nur Gürel, Levent Çalıkoğlu and Ali Akay, the Fikret Muallâ Retrospective introduces viewers to the creativity and rich imagination of this artist, whose life and work have made him both one of the most important and one of the most debated names in Turkish painting. Known as much for his tragic life as for his superior artistic persona, Fikret Muallâ has become a legendary figure since his death.

While endeavoring to draw attention to the lesser known sides of this celebrated artist, the exhibition highlights the differences between works of art that appear to be the same, suggests how works dealing with the same theme but created at different times and in diverse emotional states nourished each other, and examines the place in modern life of an artist who wanted to make a living from painting.


only in german

Fikret Mualla Retrospective
Kuratoren: Hasim Nur Gürel, Levent Calikoglu, Ali Akay