The Museum of Innocence
The Museum of Innocence is both a novel by Orhan Pamuk and a museum he has established
The Faik Pasha Suites-Apartments and Café are in 5 minutes walking distance to this Museum. It is absolutely reccomended to our guests who would like to keep the tracks of Old Istanbulite Bourgeois life Style,as well as the historical atmosphere of the Faik Pasha Buildings.
Since the 1990s, Pamuk has planned the novel and the museum together. The novel, which is about love, is set between 1974 and the early 2000s, and describes life in Istanbul between 1950 and 2000 through memories and flashbacks centred around two families – one wealthy, the other lower middle class.
The museum presents what the novel’s characters used, wore, heard, saw, collected and dreamed of, all meticulously arranged in boxes and display cabinets.
It is not essential to have read the book in order to enjoy the museum, just as it is not necessary to have visited the museum in order to fully enjoy the book.
But those who have read the novel will better grasp the many connotations of the museum, and those who have visited the museum will discover many nuances they had missed when reading the book.
The novel was published in 2008, the museum opened in Spring 2012.
The Museum of Innocence – Novel ; set in Istanbul between 1975 and today – tells the story of Kemal, the son of one of Istanbul’s richest families, and of his obsessive love for a poor and distant relation, the beautiful Fusun, who is a shop-girl in a small boutique. In his romantic pursuit of Füsun over the next eight years, Kemal compulsively amasses a collection of objects that chronicles his lovelorn progress-a museum that is both a map of a society and of his heart.
The novel depicts a panoramic view of life in Istanbul as it chronicles this long, obsessive love affair; and Pamuk beautifully captures the identity crisis experienced by Istanbul’s upper classes that find themselves caught between traditional and westernised ways of being. Orhan Pamuk’s first novel since winning the Nobel Prize is a stirring love story and exploration of the nature of romance.
Pamuk built The Museum of Innocence in the house in which his hero’s fictional family lived, to display Kemal’s strange collection of objects associated with Fusun and their relationship. The house opened to the public in 2012 in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul.
‘Pamuk has created a work concerning romantic love worthy to stand in the company of Lolita, Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.’ –Financial Times
A MODEST MANIFESTO FOR MUSEUMS
I love museums and I am not alone in finding that they make me happier with each passing day. I take museums very seriously, and that sometimes leads me to angry, forceful thoughts. But I do not have it in me to speak about museums with anger. In my childhood there were very few museums in Istanbul. Most of these were historical monuments or, quite rare outside the Western world, they were places with an air of a government office about them. Later, the small museums in the backstreets of European cities led me to realize that museums—just like novels—can also speak for individuals. That is not to understate the importance of the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Topkapı Palace, the British Museum, the Prado, the Vatican Museums—all veritable treasures of humankind. But I am against these precious monumental institutions being used as blueprints for future museums. Museums should explore and uncover the universe and humanity of the new and modern man emerging from increasingly wealthy non-Western nations. The aim of big, state-sponsored museums, on the other hand, is to represent the state. This is neither a good nor an innocent objective.
1. Large national museums such as the Louvre and the Hermitage took shape and turned into essential tourist destinations alongside the opening of royal and imperial palaces to the public. These institutions, now national symbols, present the story of the nation—history, in a word—as being far more important than the stories of individuals. This is unfortunate because the stories of individuals are much better suited to displaying the depths of our humanity.
2. We can see that the transitions from palaces to national museums and from epics to novels are parallel processes. Epics are like palaces and speak of the heroic exploits of the old kings who lived in them. National museums, then, should be like novels; but they are not.
3. We don’t need more museums that try to construct the historical narratives of a society, community, team, nation, state, tribe, company, or species. We all know that the ordinary, everyday stories of individuals are richer, more humane, and much more joyful.
4. Demonstrating the wealth of Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Iranian, or Turkish history and culture is not an issue—it must be done, of course, but it is not difficult to do. The real challenge is to use museums to tell, with the same brilliance, depth, and power, the stories of the individual human beings living in these countries.
5. The measure of a museum’s success should not be its ability to represent a state, a nation or company, or a particular history. It should be its capacity to reveal the humanity of individuals.
6. It is imperative that museums become smaller, more individualistic, and cheaper. This is the only way that they will ever tell stories on a human scale. Big museums with their wide doors call upon us to forget our humanity and embrace the state and its human masses. This is why millions outside the Western world are afraid of going to museums.
7. The aim of present and future museums must not be to represent the state, but to re-create the world of single human beings—the same human beings who have labored under ruthless oppression for hundreds of years.
8. The resources that are channeled into monumental, symbolic museums should be diverted to smaller museums that tell the stories of individuals. These resources should also be used to encourage and support people in turning their own small homes and stories into “exhibition” spaces.
9. If objects are not uprooted from their environs and their streets, but are situated with care and ingenuity in their natural homes, they will already portray their own stories.
10. Monumental buildings that dominate neighborhoods and entire cities do not bring out our humanity; on the contrary, they quash it. Instead, we need modest museums that honor the neighborhoods and streets and the homes and shops nearby, and turn them into elements of their exhibitions.
11. The future of museums is inside our own homes.
The picture is, in fact, very simple;
|WE HAD||WE NEED|
|GROUPS AND TEAMS||INDIVIDUALS|
|LARGE AND EXPENSIVE||SMALL AND CHEAP|
Orhan Pamuk / The Museum of Innocence