December 23, 2015 – May 22, 2016

Istanbul Modern’s latest contemporary photography exhibition, “Habitat”, brings together varied perspectives on the spaces we live in. The exhibition examines the evolving concept of space, continuously defined and redefined, through the work of 13 artists selected by Istanbul Modern’s Photography Advisory Board.

Habitat, the place where an organism lives and grows, is sometimes used to define the setting for life’s basic motion and conflict. All living creatures have to adapt to their environment or relocate in order to survive and continue their bloodlines. Their habitats are physically redesigned and restructured under the pressure of daily conditions. The borders that are drawn to determine biological, personal or political spaces usually give rise to contradictions and conflict. Spaces are not only shaped by physical intervention but also by social and personal memory; vestiges of events ingrained in our memory also shape the way spaces are recreated and reproduced in the collective conscience. Both conceptually and physically, habitat is being redefined every moment by the changing balance of power and the continual transformation this change creates.

Today, discussions continue to center on how individuals are trying to resist the global movements carrying their cities in tow, how the ideal human habitat should be defined, and what existing conditions offer us. This exhibition brings together different concerns about habitat related to the conflict and search for balance between those with an equal right to determine how the environment they inhabit should be shaped. By considering such issues as the power of metropolises over its flora and rural districts, the constant need to recycle urban memory due to changing policies and demographic concerns, and the creative struggle for the right to shelter, the exhibition draws attention to the basic requisites for existence. Our lives and perception of living spaces are framed by the roads we travel to find work or merely “to find ourselves”, the journeys we take while enclosed by walls, and the physical or imaginary borders we draw. The defensive or offensive choices we make to feel safer determine our life strategies. Ultimately, our struggle to have a say on our habitats – the common stage of our lives – brings together different representations of helplessness and power and of dreams and realities.

Artists: Kürşat Bayhan, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Zeynep Beler, Görkem Ergün, Beril Gür, Çağlar Kanzık, Oğuz Karakütük, Barbaros Kayan, Gündüz Kayra, Neslihan Koyuncu, Desislava Şenay Martinova, Ali Taptık, Serkan Taycan

Curator: Sena Çakırkaya

Photography Advisory Board: Merih Akoğul, Orhan Cem Çetin, Murat Germen, Sıtkı Kösemen



Barbaros Kayan, Ayazma Project, 2008


Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Air Conditioners, 2015


Exhibition Publication

Habitat exhibition book

The collection catalogue for the exhibition “Habitat”, published bilingually in Turkish and English, includes images of the works in the exhibition as well as artists’ views and texts on the artists and on works featured in the exhibition.​