A selection of approximately 1000 pieces including artworks and archival materials together for the first time
Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM) hosts the exhibition ‘Avni Lifij. The Modern of His Time,’ providing a comprehensive insight into the versatile artistic production of Hüseyin Avni Lifij (1886-1927) who occupies a unique position in the history of Turkish painting. At the press conference held for the opening of the exhibition, Sabancı Holding’s CEO Cenk Alper said, ‘We as the Sabancı Holding are very happy to embrace the masters of the Turkish art and to assume the sponsorship of this exhibition “Avni Lifij. The Modern of His Time,” which features a comprehensive take on the artist’s work.’ The SSM Director Dr. Nazan Ölçer also provided information about the exhibition, and said, ‘Our Museum’s long-term project aiming to study and present the great pioneers of Turkish painting with all their aspects, continue with Avni Lifij.’
The ‘Avni Lifij. The Modern of His Time’ exhibition sponsored by Sabancı Holding will be open between the dates 15 October 2019 and 12 January 2020. The exhibition consists of the artist’s works covering a wide range of genres such as self-portraits, pochades, landscapes and compositions with figures as well as his articles on politics and culture, art criticism and photographs. Presenting Avni Lifij’s artistic personality in a holistic manner to cover all his aspects for the first time in Turkey, the exhibition aims to shed light on the 1914 Generation, to which the artist belonged, and the pioneering role he played in Turkish art history.
OUR MISSION: INTRODUCING OUR VALUES TO WIDER AUDIENCES
At the press conference, Sabancı Holding’s CEO Cenk Alper said, ‘We have adopted the mission of introducing our country’s valuable individuals to wider audiences. The “Feyhaman Duran” and “Selim Turan” exhibitions we sponsored in the recent years attracted great interest. The “Avni Lifij. The Modern of His Time” exhibition, which we consider the third of the series focusing on the third important master of Turkish art, opens today. Avni Lifij is one of the most innovative figures of the 1914 Generation, he has a perspective beyond time, with his versatility and productivity. Actually, we believe that, with these aspects of his, he shares a common denominator with the spirit of progressiveness, innovation and productivity in our vision we describe as the “Sabancı of the New Generation.” The name of our exhibition is “The Modern of His Time,” defining both the artist and the Sabancı Group of Companies whose objective has always been to be a “pioneer” and an “example” very clearly. For this reason as well, we as the Sabancı Holding are very happy to be the sponsor of the first comprehensive Hüseyin Avni Lifij exhibition in Turkey.”
OUR LONG-TERM PROJECT CONTINUES WITH AVNİ LİFİJ
The SSM Director Dr. Nazan Ölçer provided information about the exhibition, and said, “We are very happy to present Avni Lifij not only as a great painter, but also as a real intellectual, a fine art critic, photographer and philosopher who is way beyond his time, whose articles include brave criticisms of contemporary artistic events, social life and education system, in this year’s chapter of our Museum’s long-term project aiming to study and present the great pioneers of Turkish painting with all their aspects.”
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
The ‘Avni Lifi. The Modern of His Time,’ which takes place between 15 October 2019 and 12 January 2020 consists of the artist’s works covering a wide range of genres such as self-portraits, pochades, landscapes and compositions with figures as well as his articles on politics and culture, art criticism and photographs. The exhibition focuses on Avni Lifij as a man of culture, providing a detailed view of his life and art with a selection of approximately 1000 pieces including oil paintings, studies, drawings, sketches, pochades, photographs, archive materials and personal belongings.
The ‘Avni Lifi. The Modern of His Time,’ the concept of which was developed by SSM’s Director Dr. Nazan Ölçer who also directed the organization of the exhibition aims to provide a detailed perspective in discussing the art of this pioneer of Turkish art history, as well as the 1914 Generation painters.
Carefully preserved archival materials and personal belongings from the descendants of Lifij, and most notably, the wife of the painter, Harika Lifij are exhibited together with the artist’s masterpieces for the first time in Turkish art history. The selection reflecting Avni Lifij’s strong desire to practice his art includes the artist’s works, which are among the masterpieces of Turkish painting history from the collections of Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum, Ankara Painting and Sculpture Museum, National Library and private collections. The exhibition enables the visitors to view Avni Lifij paintings such as The Man with a Pipe: The Artist’s Self-portrait, Fevzi Çakmak’s Portrait, Allegory, The Artist’s Self-portrait which have not been exhibited for a long time or which have been in private collections and never exhibited before.
The pochades in the ‘Avni Lifi. The Modern of His Time’ exhibition which focuses on Avni Lifij’s search for a unique place, as an artist who lived in the era of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and proclamation of the Turkish Republic, will enable the visitors to track the development of the style he practiced in his depictions of Istanbul and Anatolia. In order to shed light on the artist’s largely undiscovered works in photography, all glass negatives and photographs in Sirel family archives will be presented together, and with the pochades to some of which they provided the basis. Avni Lifij’s self-portraits which played a decisive role in his artistic career and which exhibit indications of how he positioned himself during different periods of his life will be exhibited together. His drawings, proofs of his mastery will point to the importance of the figure for the artist, while his sketches depicting architectural details will reflect his interest in city planning and art history, topics he focuses on in his articles as well.
The exhibition will also include a collection of all of Avni Lifij’s articles in the family’s and private collections, providing visitors with the opportunity of discovering the writer Lifij. The artist’s writings in Ottoman and French, including art critiques, articles on city planning, cultural policies and art theory as well as philosophical texts translated by him will be exhibited in the museum. The same writings will also be published for the first time as a book edited meticulously by the art historian Ömer Faruk Şerifoğlu, to be published in tandem with the exhibition.
The exhibition will provide a comprehensive view of Hüseyin Avni Lifij’s art and life through documentary viewings, conferences, guided tours and children’s workshops, as well as the exhibition catalogue which will comprise of the biography of the artist, articles on his versatile career and a wide selection of his works, thereby constituting a reference book about him.