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Şakir Eczacıbaşı's "Selected Moments" photo exhibition at Istanbul Modern

Istanbul Modern is hosting the exhibition “Selected Moments” on the 10th anniversary of the death of businessperson and photographer Şakir Eczacıbaşı. Sponsored by the Eczacıbaşı Group and curated by Bülent Erkmen, the exhibition will be on view from November 25, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

"Selected Moments" brings together impressionist photographs from the artist's early years during the 1960s and photographs from the 1980s, where he interprets the technical possibilities of photography in his own distinct manner.

Sponsored by the Eczacıbaşı Group, the exhibition portrays streets which Şakir Eczacıbaşı describes as "the places where we are in our natural states" and the multilayered geography of Anatolia, host to numerous civilizations over the centuries. While featuring human-centered works and portraits of important actors in the field of culture and arts, the exhibition also reveals the artist's desire to search for a form of universal communication.

“Selected Moments” focuses on works in which the artist conveys the relationship of his subjects with their surroundings, other people, vehicles and roads. The exhibition contains more than 300 photographs, including works from the Istanbul Modern Photography Collection and a selection of photographs that the artist donated to the
Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation.

Oya Eczacıbaşı: “We are commemorating Şakir Eczacıbaşı with his selected moments.”

Şakir Eczacıbaşı is widely considered to be one of Turkey's leading contemporary photographers says Oya Eczacıbaşı, Chair of the Board of Istanbul Modern, and adds: “On this 10th anniversary of his death, we want to commemorate Şakir Eczacıbaşı, who made numerous contributions to the world of art and culture, with moments of life selected by him and reflected through his lens. Şakir Eczacıbaşı was a multifaceted artist who questioned the formalism of photography in order to project the movement, uncertainty, and changes of daily life with his photographs”.

“I would like to remember my past with images…”

Eczacıbaşı Group CEO Atalay Gümrah says that he is delighted to commemorate Şakir Eczacıbaşı with this special exhibition because Şakir Eczacıbaşı himself once said: “I take photographs because I want to remember my past with images. And not just to remember, I also want to share them with the viewer.”

Atalay Gümrah notes that Şakir Eczacıbaşı’s final book, Selected Moments, which he completed right before he passed away, has been released by the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation to coincide with this exhibition, which the Eczacıbaşı Group is sponsoring. The Eczacıbaşı Group has also launched a website, sakireczacibasi.com.tr., which details Şakir Eczacıbaşı's passion for art, his biography, and examples of his photographs.

Passion behind the camera

Exhibition curator Bülent Erkmen explains that the exhibition conveys the diversity and richness of color of moments in Eczacıbaşı's view of life while showcasing images that add extraordinary emotions to ordinary moments.

“Şakir Eczacıbaşı approached the things he wanted to do, his pursuits and interests, life, and photography with appetite and enthusiasm," Erkmen said. "He photographed every moment and everything he looked at. Şakir Eczacıbaşı's world of photography was as rich as his voice, and to illustrate it, 50, 100, or 150 photographs aren't enough. This exhibition presents more than 300 photographs, and with this comprehensive selection, aims to convey the diversity and colorfulness of moments in Eczacıbaşı's view of life, the images that add extraordinary emotion to ordinary moments, and the versatile passion behind his unsteady, fidgeting camera.”

Şakir Eczacıbaşı’s book “Selected Moments” and a selection of products designed specially for the exhibition are available at the Istanbul Modern Shop.

Who is Şakir Eczacıbaşı? (1929 - 2010)

Born in 1929 in İzmir, Şakir Eczacıbaşı studied first at Robert College in Istanbul then at the University of London's School of Pharmacy. In 1953, following his return to Turkey, he became one of the publishers of the famous Sanat Yaprağı (Art Leaf), the culture and art supplement of Vatan newspaper.

Şakir Eczacıbaşı took up photography in the 1960s, gained recognition in Turkey and abroad with his work, and came to be considered one of Turkey's leading contemporary photographers. His work has been shown in 15 photography exhibitions in Turkey and 25 exhibitions in various western countries. Selections of his photographs have been published in a variety of books, among them Memories/Moments (Anlar/Moments, 1983), Colors of Turkey (Türkiye Renkleri, 1997), Doors and Windows (Kapılar ve Pencereler, 2001), and A Selection: 1965-2005 (A Selection: 1965-2005, 2005).

Şakir Eczacıbaşı defined art as “an effort to reproduce the world with a specific personal interpretation”. In addition to pursuing photography, he played a prominent role in Turkey's culture and arts field, helping to shape its development through his founding of the Turkish Cinema Association and leadership of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Starting from 1968 until his death in 2010 in Istanbul, Şakir Eczacıbaşı produced 43 thematic Eczacıbaşı Color Photography Albums focused on people and landscapes from Turkey: fishermen, houses, streets, bazaars, markets ad coffeehouses to name a few. The albums featured distinguished writers and photographers, many of whom were young and unknown. His compilation of writings by Bernard Shaw ,Cheerful Thoughts (1995), Passions, Sorrows, and of Oscar Wilde, Cheerful Sayings (2001), were very well received. Shortly before he died, Şakir Eczacıbaşı completed his memoirs, titled Çağrışımlar, Tanıklıklar, Dostluklar (Associations, Testimonies, Friendships), which was posthumously published in September 2010.

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