ON YAPI KREDI COIN COLLECTION
curator: Basak Senova
artists: Ali Taptik, Hera Buyuktasciyan, Marco Di Giovanni
advisory board: Bige Orer, Emre Baykal, Walter Guadagnini
venue: Yapi ve Kredi Sanat Merkezi
coordinates: Istanbul, 2013-2018
In 2013, I was called to a meeting in Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts. At the meeting, I was asked to develop a project that focused on the Yapı Kredi art collections. However, I already knew that Yapı Kredi Bank had been creating one of the world’s most important and comprehensive coin collections since 1954. Moreover, up until now, only a very limited part of this collection had been shown to the public through a few exhibitions. The vast majority of the collection was locked away in a special storage equipped with an exceptional protection system, accessible only by one or two authorized persons. In the later phases of this meeting, we decided to develop a project based on Yapı Kredi Coin Collection. This meeting was followed by many other meetings. Bige Örer, director of the Istanbul Biennial; Emre Baykal, curator and director of Arter Exhibitions; and Walter Guadagnini, head of UniCredit Art Scientific Commission, and director of Galleria Civica di Modena took part in the project as the Advisory Board. Again< in 2013, three artists were selected together with the Advisory Board: Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Ali Taptık, and Marco Di Giovanni. After extensive research, project development, and production process with the artists, the works were produced in 2014 and< delivered to the Yapı Kredi Culture Center.
The main motive behind the decision to focus on the Coin Collection rather than the Art Collection was very personal: I had a modest collection of coins that I had collected since my childhood, completely incomparable with Yapı Kredi Coin Collection both in scale and value. My grandmother was a very colourful character who had shaped her whole life quite differently considering the social norms of her time; she had gained her economic freedom at a young age and raised a son on her own. When she retired at an early age, her son had already finished the academy and established his own life, therefore, she began to realize her dreams of exploring the world with her friends where she traveled all around the country and overseas. She went on these journeys until the end of her life. In the 1970s, finding postcards from my grandmother in the mailbox sent from different parts of the world, or a letter containing photographs changed my world and added to my daydreams. Even more exciting were the objects and coins that came from other lands. These were kept in a tiny space that was originally designed as a small sitting room with small seats and a lampshade, then altered to a wardrobe in her house at Kosuyolu, Istanbul. Here, she kept her collection of coins from her world travels for her granddaughter. The financial value of these coins was the most insignificant aspect for me. Every coin meant a new journey and a new story. After I lost my grandmother, my father took over the task of collecting coins for me from faraway lands. Years later, working with three artists with similar memories and visions meant taking the same dream-filled journeys all over again.
During the artistic research process, several meetings took place with Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts. To see that all of these people were sharing a common passion changed the course of the works. Throughout the project, I worked with the artists not only on the research and development of the works, but we also discussed, documented, and planned all the details from design solutions to presentation modes of the works, as well as how they should be documented. Creating a publication on the process and the content was one of the main goals of the project. However, the project was put on hold for a number of reasons such as the renovation of the Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts building, and the change of the center’s program over time. As is the habitual destiny of this geography, the project was delayed and transformed. However, the important thing for me is that the produced works were finally be shown, and a publicatiton with the candidly written texts on the process, intentions, and research, was finally printed.