Home Magazine The New Odunpazari Modern Museum in Turkey

While Turkey's economy is fast-growing by becoming a leading Nation, also its investments in art are seeing an overwhelming spread. Turkey’s contemporary art scene is super buzzing and many Turks see art as good investment and path to prestige. We already spoke about that on the occasion of This 16th Istanbul Biennial, now we will visit the beautiful spaces of the new Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM).

Designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates in partnership with Yuki Ikeguchi, the new museum has opened in Eskişehir (a university town in the northwest of Turkey) on 8 September 2019. Founded by Erol Tabanca - Chairperson of Polimeks Holding, and an art collector who champions both Turkish and international artists - the museum’s permanent collection comprises over a thousand works of art spanning from the 1950s to the present day, with an emphasis on artists from Turkey.


OMM by Kengo Kuma and Associates. ©NAARO.jpg


The collection has been brought together by Erol Tabanca over a period of 15 years and features more than a thousand works of art spanning from the 1950s to the present day, championing pioneering twentieth-century figures as well as the next generation of contemporary artists. As stated by Tabanca: “​It is my privilege to give this museum and open up the collection to visitors all over the world to enjoy. OMM will stand as a new landmark that reconnects the town with its history, and as a progressive cultural development for Eskişehir and the Central Anatolian region at large​.”


Hans op de Beeck Sleeping Girl 2-2 AP, polyester, aliminyum, boya 76 x 210 x 100 cm (2) fotoğraf Kayhan Kaygusuz .jpg


With its distinctive stacked timber design by Kengo Kuma and Associates (KKAA), 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.
Split over three floors, visitors could journey through a variety of exhibition spaces, with the large spaces at ground level echoing the rhythm and scale of the surrounding townscape, and the smaller rooms on the upper levels providing a home for smaller-scale artworks. At the centre, a skylit atrium it allows natural light to permeate throughout the building.

Yuki Ikeguchi, Partner leading the project, and Kengo Kuma, Founder of Kengo Kuma and Associates, said​:​ ​“At the heart of this project was a desire to create a link between people and art. We wanted the building to carry the history and memory of the town, to resonate both on a human scale and with the unique streetscape of Odunpazari, which passing through is a special experience in itself. We very much look forward to seeing the public enjoy and interact with the building.”


OMM_Tanabe Chikuunsai IV Installation (Enstalasyon) photo by (fotoğraf) Batuhan Keskiner


Created by Turkish curator, Haldun Dostoğlu, the museum’s inaugural exhibition has showcase a selection of around 200 works by 60 leading artists from Turkey including Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Canan Tolon, Erol Akyavaş, İlhan Koman, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Sinan Demirtaş and Tayfun Erdoğmuş. The exhibition continues up to the present day with a new site-specific commission by Japanese bamboo artist, Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. His intricate installation, crafted from woven bamboo, interacting with and complement the architecture of the building. 

Cover image: OMM by Kengo Kuma and Associates. ©NAARO.


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