Odunpazarı Modern Museum (OMM), located in the historic Odunpazarı quarter of the central Turkish province of Eskişehir, invites art enthusiasts to question humanity’s relationship with Earth, a planet on the brink of mass destruction, with its latest show. Launched on Oct. 2, the group exhibit “At the End of the Day” asks whether we can develop respectful ways of coexisting with nature through more than 40 artworks by 36 artists.
The exhibition, curated by the OMM team and spanning all three floors of the museum, is the first new show to follow the museum’s reopening in July after a period of temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2020-2021 art season, OMM offers a chance for viewers to rethink their relationship with the environment.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world, becoming a global health crisis, humankind was facing the consequences of the environmental problems that they caused since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. Following the natural disasters induced by climate change, immigration waves and a pandemic threatening people’s lives all around the world, one question surfaced: While this Earth, which has been home to various creatures for eons, is perfectly capable of surviving without humanity, will our species, who claimed to be the center of this planet, take heed and develop respectful ways to coexist with nature?
Taking this into consideration, OMM’s “At the End of the Day” explores answers to this question, featuring works that address the distinction between exploitation and coexistence, migration and conquering, and memory and monumentalizing. The show takes its inspiration from American writer Ursula K. Le Guin's “The Word for World is Forest” and finds its roots in a world similar to this seminal 1972 novella. The fictional world of Athshe, a once-peaceful planet colonized by humans and stripped of its natural resources, finds a voice in this show with anti-colonial, anti-militaristic overtones.
The works of the exhibition explore hyperconsumerism and overproduction, colonization and coexistence, the mass migration of climate refugees and the notion of nature as a mere commodity and backdrop to the human experience. During this crucial period of understanding and realization, in which we become fully aware of the threats posed by overusing natural resources in the name of pleasure and profit while ignoring Earth’s ecological balance, this exhibition shines a light on possibilities for our collective future, for better or for worse.
OMM Exhibitions director Zeynep Birced said about the exhibit, “As the pandemic has brought to light our fragile relationship with the planet and undermined our sense of control as well as exposing the structural inequalities that exist as a result of environmental exploitation, the exhibition uses art as a tool to raise consciousness about the myriad issues facing our generation, delving into the past, present and future.”
Bringing together over 40 works of painting, photography, video and installation, the 36 artists represented in the exhibition include Adnan Varınca, Ahmet Doğu Ipek, Ali Ibrahim Öcal, Ali Kazma, Alper Aydın, Andreas Gurksy, Aras Seddigh, Aylin Zaptçıoğlu, Azade Köker, Bashir Borlakov, Burcu Perçin, Burcu Yağcıoğlu, Canan Tolon, Ekin Saçlıoğlu, Elmas Deniz, Emin Altan, Emin Mete Erdoğan, Fırat Engin, Guido Casaretto, Hale Tenger, Irem Tok, Joao Vilhena, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Lara Ögel, Marc Quinn, Murat Akagündüz, Mustafa Hulusi, Nazan Azeri, Osman Dinç, Pınar Yoldaş, Seon Ghi Bahk, Sergen Şehitoğlu, Serkan Demir, Stephan Kaluza, TUNCA and Yaşam Şaşmazer.
Along with the exhibit, a podcast series in Spotify featuring talks with several of the artists in “At the End of the Day” offers the chance to get to know the artists behind the scenes and reach out to art lovers who cannot visit the museum in person.
Designed by famous Japanese architecture office "Kengo Kuma and Associates" (KKAA) and inspired by Ottoman dome architecture, traditional Japanese architecture and civilian architecture of Odunpazarı, OMM has hosted four standout exhibitions and two artist residencies, and welcomed more than 166,000 visitors from Turkey and abroad to date. September 2020 marked one year since the striking museum breathed new life into Eskişehir and the contemporary art scene in Turkey.