In Pursuit of the Present

In its collection exhibition “In Pursuit of the Present”, Istanbul Modern focuses on human conditions in today’s world. The exhibition features works that explore the relationship between humans and cities, nature, and between their own selves and their physical environment in historical, social and personal contexts. Moreover, the exhibition holds a mirror to how human emotions are influenced by the new visual and aural stimuli that have emerged in the world today.

“In Pursuit of the Present” establishes various intersecting and interrelating thematic strands, and, through the works in the exhibition, branches off into side paths such as identity, the body, gender politics, processes of construction and destruction, and the relationship between nature and humans. Dealing with the city and its architecture, which are conceived by humans to create ideal living spaces, the exhibition explores their intricate relationship with city-dwellers while at the same time drawing attention to the possible consequences of the drive to build and dominate by violating the boundaries of natural life. It also points out to how the taming and domestication of nature brings about destruction, and to the consequences of destroying the social heritage handed down through generations. While important axis of the exhibition covers humans’ relationship with the depths of the unconscious, their turning to themselves and their quest for the self as they struggle to cope with the destructive dimensions of the different changes that are occurring, “In Pursuit of the Present” also features works that explore the multiple dimensions of gender roles and women’s issues.


Murat Akagündüz, Rasim Aksan, Alaettin Aksoy, Deniz Aktaş, Peter Anders, Mehtap Baydu,
Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Sabri Berkel, Taner Ceylan, Adnan Çoker, Burhan Doğançay, İpek Duben, Olafur Eliasson,
İnci Eviner, Mehmet Güleryüz, Balkan Naci İslimyeli, Hüsamettin Koçan, Azade Köker,
Maro Michalakakos, Sarah Morris, Hans Op de Beeck, Angel Otero, Kemal Önsoy, İrfan Önürmen,
Necla Rüzgar, Sarkis, Güneş Terkol, Canan Tolon, TUNCA, Ömer Uluç, Zhan Wang, Nil Yalter, Jérôme Zonder.


Curatorial Staff: Öykü Özsoy, Deniz Pehlivaner, Ümit Mesci



Adnan Çoker, 1927

Globes VI, 1996

Acrylic on canvas

180 x 180 cm

Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation Collection / Long term loan



Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, 1966

Fire, 2010

Acrylic on plexiglass

225 x 300 cm

Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation Collection/ Long term loan