In collaboration with the Nobel Prize winner for Literature Orhan Pamuk (*1952), the Dresden State Art Collections (SKD) are opening the exhibition "Orhan Pamuk. The Consolation of Objects" in the Semper-Kabinett of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. At the same time, the presentation marks the start of a multi-year programme on Turkish art and culture at the SKD.
In 2012, Orhan Pamuk set up the so-called "Museum of Innocence" in Istanbul, which was inspired by and designed with the novel of the same name, which was published in 2008. On three floors, the writer tells the story of the lives of the protagonists Kemal and Füsun through everyday objects that he arranges in a multitude of showcases. Now, part of the presentation is travelling outside Istanbul for the first time in such scale. For the project, Orhan Pamuk recreated 41 of 78 so-called cabinets from his museum in Istanbul. In addition, Pamuk has also developed new cabinets, the contents of which were inspired by masterpieces from the Gemäldegalerie and other SKD collections.
Made as collages of objects, images and texts, these are the first works of this kind Pamuk made since his Istanbul installations were completed. The new cabinets tell stories inspired by objects from the SKD collections, interwoven with associations from many of Pamuk's other novels. By considering how objects can give us solace, Pamuk further develops themes he has been exploring for many years: cultural change, Occidentalism and Orientalism, the intrinsic nature of collecting, fiction and memory, and even the role of museums in the modern world.
Orhan Pamuk: I also realised that one of the most important things we discover and experience in a museum lies in the context in which the objects relates to each other and to the individuals, to their thoughts and sorrows. This is what I call the power of objects a power that gives us consolation for and against the passing of time.
The presentation is accompanied by an audio guide that can be played through your own smartphone via headphones.
Just as he once created the novel in parallel to the Museum of Innocence installation and invited the visitors to use it as its 'annotated catalogue', he has now written a new book about the artistic project presented in Dresden: Der Trost der Dinge. Dresdner Ausgabe (The Consolation of Things. Dresden Edition) published at Carl Hanser Verlag by Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Marion Ackermann and Aleksandr Godovanets can serve as a detailed guide to the world of Pamuk's imagination.
Parallel to the exhibition in the Semper Cabinet, a small satellite presentation will take place in the Studiolo of the Residenzschloss. "The Consolation of Things: Home Edition" is dedicated to another dimension of Pamuk's visual work - his photographs - and shows previously unpublished works. The installation shows Pamuk's experiments in capturing the constellations of small objects on his desk, revealing one of his creative discovery processes.
After the presentation in Dresden, the exhibition will make further stops at the Lenbachhaus in Munich from May to October 2024 and at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague from November 2024 to spring 2025.
The novel "The Museum of Innocence" tells the story of 30-year-old Kemal and his doomed love affair with his younger relative Füsun, which degenerates into an obsession with collecting any everyday thing that reminds him of her. Finally, after Füsun's death, he sets up a museum with these objects in her former house.
The Museum of Innocence" was chosen as Museum of the Year by the European Museum Forum (EMF) in 2014 - for "its radical, in-depth exploration of the psychological significance of collecting and its insight into material objects as metaphors and as carriers of emotions, memories and cultures.", according to the jury. Orhan Pamuk is considered one of the most important writers of our time and is the first Turkish author to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.
The exhibition "Orhan Pamuk. The Consolation of Objects" also marks the start of a multi-year programme series on the art and culture of Turkey. Based on its own collections, such as the "Türckische Cammer" or the Ottoman coin collection, the museum complex aims to deepen the knowledge of the country's past and present through artistic approaches and to sharpen its gaze eastwards to present-day Turkey.
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Semper-Kabinett, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
Orhan Pamuk. The Consolation of Objects
October 6th, 2023 to April 7th, 2024
Studiolo, Residenzschloss Dresden
The Consolation of Objects: Home Edition. Photography by Orhan Pamuk
October 6th, 2023 to April 7th, 2024
Marion Ackermann, Director-General of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Orhan Pamuk, Curator und Author.
Silke Schuster-Müller, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, DekaBank as representative of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe Aleksandr Godovanets, Curator.