The exhibition in the temporary exhibition hall of the Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum (IRHM) is curated by M. Sinan Niyazioğlu and Yasemin Nur Erkalır from MSGSÜ Faculty of Fine Arts and Nezih R. Aysel from the Faculty of Architecture.

The exhibition focuses on the period until the fire in 1948, which significantly damaged the Academy's memory. It presents to the audience, with distinguished examples, the activities of groups such as "Group d", "New People" and "They", which have an important place in Turkey's artistic life and in creating its intelligentsia, and their work in creating the visual identity of the young Republic in the process of nationalization.

MSGSÜ Rector Prof. Dr. We talked with Handan İnci Elçi about the "Representation and Memory" exhibition and, going a little beyond the exhibition, about Turkey's art life.

- You are celebrating the 142nd anniversary of the Academy with the "Representation and Memory" exhibition. First of all, I would like to get your opinions about the 142nd year.

Being a manager in such a well-established institution requires responsibility and, of course, brings with it happiness and pride. Our school played a very active role in the last period of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment and development processes of the Republic, and it still continues this role. An institution whose identity has never been distorted or changed. Therefore, when you come to such an institution as a manager, you act with the awareness that you are on a deep-rooted legacy and that it is necessary to evaluate it. As a person and as a researcher, I work with a focus on archives, research, discovery and highlighting. Therefore, when I took over this institution as a manager, I asked "What do we have?", "How much do we have?", "How much of what have we shown and can we show?" As I went back, I saw that the history of the institution was not fully compiled into a book. It's always been on my mind to do this.

- What kind of publication is this?

Since March is our founding month, we organize events every year. I can say that since I arrived, I have made a special effort to ensure that these events are about remembering, refreshing, reminding and recording the past. We started our 140th anniversary celebration program from the place where our university was first founded, from our first building opposite the Archaeological Museum, and then we organized it like a parade to refresh the memory. All our departments prepared panels and interviews explaining their 140 years of experience. We could not celebrate our 141st birthday the following year due to the earthquake. This year, we wanted to reflect the memory of the institution on a larger scale.

- Will there be a study on the period after the fire until today?

This year, we studied the period between 1882, our founding date, and 1948, until the Academy fire. Next year, we will continue where we left off and cover the period until the Academy became a university. When all of them are completed, the exhibitions will also be published and we will have a comprehensive history book of the institution, which we feel is missing so much. However, some things will always remain missing because we have such an intense history... Names that pioneered all branches of architecture, design and art, formed schools and demonstrated attitudes have always come from here. When you want to tell these things, a glorious past appears before you. For now, we brought it up to the fire of 1948. As I just mentioned, all these activities are actually a part of the book that will reflect the institution. It actually required a lot of courage to undertake this work, which is why no one took it upon themselves. Because whatever you highlight when telling the past, the other will be left out and will be criticized. Finally, I was able to convince our three valuable teachers and we started. I would like to thank again Mehmet Sinan Niyazioğlu, who was the Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts when I proposed the exhibition, his assistant Yasemin Nur Erkalır and Nezih R. Aysel from Architecture.

- It must be difficult to fit 142 years of experience, even just the part up to the Academy fire, into an exhibition...

It's definitely been difficult. I can say that our curators worked hard and showed little. But they created a solid backbone. First, a basis was prepared chronologically through location changes. In other words, the founding years, the nomadic period, the institutionalization process and the fire. Then they followed the identity we developed in this process with subheadings: Taking Part in the Self-Portrait of the Regime, Creating Public Opinion in the Press, Maintaining the Exhibition Tradition and Determining the Corporate Publication Policy. We also have two remarkable screens in the last section. Here too, discussions about the Academy were reflected from different perspectives. Our biggest supporter while preparing this challenging exhibition was our Director, esteemed Hasan Karakaya. Facilitator, solver and patient... I must mention his valuable contribution to the exhibition arrangements. I would also like to thank him and his hard-working team.

- Finally, at the opening of the Plus 700 exhibition, there was a sound problem in the Museum and you said, "Maybe a donor will come forward and donate a sound system." Has a donation been made?

It still hasn't arrived, I'm waiting.

- This school is a public school after all. Can't the government afford this?

The state has budgets allocated to universities. A significant budget was allocated to the museum during its construction. However, after the Museum was opened, its operation had to be based on a different basis. On the other hand, how appropriate is it to use my resources that can be transferred to the university for the Museum? This Museum should be supported by institutions, organizations and people outside the university. It is not easy to manage a museum without a strong and sustainable capital behind it. He wants a big budget with his staff and expenses. If the museum becomes economically stronger, it can provide more qualified service. Many of our works that need to be restored are waiting in the warehouse. If you want to see these, you should support the Museum. For example, you can donate to cover the restoration costs of a work. Sustainability is very important and we should all contribute to this museum.