In its collection exhibition “In Pursuit of the Present”, Istanbul Modern focuses on human conditions in today’s world. The exhibition features works that explore the relationship between humans and cities, nature, and between their own selves and their physical environment in historical, social and personal contexts. Moreover, the exhibition holds a mirror to how human emotions are influenced by the new visual and aural stimuli that have emerged in the world today.
“In Pursuit of the Present” establishes various intersecting and interrelating thematic strands, and, through the works in the exhibition, branches off into side paths such as identity, the body, gender politics, processes of construction and destruction, and the relationship between nature and humans. Dealing with the city and its architecture, which are conceived by humans to create ideal living spaces, the exhibition explores their intricate relationship with city-dwellers while at the same time drawing attention to the possible consequences of the drive to build and dominate by violating the boundaries of natural life. It also points out to how the taming and domestication of nature brings about destruction, and to the consequences of destroying the social heritage handed down through generations. While important axis of the exhibition covers humans’ relationship with the depths of the unconscious, their turning to themselves and their quest for the self as they struggle to cope with the destructive dimensions of the different changes that are occurring, “In Pursuit of the Present” also features works that explore the multiple dimensions of gender roles and women’s issues.