Artist imitates his own art

April 18, 2012

I loved this strange, surreal, exotic story in the FT: news (news to me) that renowned Turkish author Orhan Pamuk has founded a museum based on his novel The Museum Of Innocence.

I haven’t read this novel – I’ve read a couple of his others and even blogged about one of them – but still found the Nobel laureate’s decision to create a museum in homage to his character’s own – which in the book is a museum dedicated to the objects and items that his departed lover touched – thrillingly odd:

A vitrine of salt shakers by the stairwell commemorates Kemal’s dinners there. Prominent is a dress she purportedly wore when Kemal seduced her. “That’s the closest we get to her,” Pamuk murmurs, as though of an acquaintance. There are sprawling collections of earrings, hairclips and matchboxes, purloined in Kemal’s “ritual of consolation”, and odd objects from a broken porcelain heart to a toy tricycle.

It’s a nostalgic museum, Pamuk says – to no surprise to anyone who’s read anything he’s written – and as much a celebration of life in Istanbul as an installation encapsulating the novel’s key theme of lost love. If I ever get to visit Turkey – and I very much hope I will – then this will certainly be on my itinerary.


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