A Museum That Reconnects the Town with its History
Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM), a new museum designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates, will open in Eskişehir, a university town in the northwest of Turkey, in June 2019.
Founded by Erol Tabanca, an art collector and businessman, OMM will welcome international audiences in June 2019, to discover its significant collection of modern and contemporary art spanning the 1950s to the present day. With its distinctive stacked timber design by Kengo Kuma and Associates (KKAA), the 4,500 sq m 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 will create a museum square and public meeting place in the town.
Split over three floors, visitors will 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 sky lit atrium will allow 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.”
The founder of OMM, Erol Tabanca says, “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.”
Curated by Turkish curator, Haldun Dostoğlu, the museum’s inaugural exhibition will 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 will continue 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, will interact with and complement the architecture of the building.
According to the curator Dostoğlu, “When curating Odunpazari Modern Museum’s inaugural exhibition, I was inspired by three truths: Eskisehir will gain its first modern art museum, Erol Tabanca will fulfil his dream of sharing his art collection with the public, and this wonderful collection – much of which has been behind closed doors for a number of years – will be showcased in its entirety for the first time.”
The collection has been brought together by Tabanca over a period of 15 years and features more than a thousand works of art spanning the 1950s to the present day, championing pioneering 20th Century figures as well as the next generation of contemporary artists. OMM’s multidisciplinary exhibitions – many of which will be produced in collaboration with leading curators and creatives – and permanent galleries will be complemented by a dynamic public programme, offering seminars, artist talks and workshops.