Freely inspired by Tursun Bey, 15th century Ottoman historian and poet.

A site-specific art installation in Istanbul by Angelo Bucarelli.
Küçük Mustafa PaşaHamami, Mustantik Sokak. Cibali. Fatih.

Istanbul 15 September ‐ 14 October 2013.

To encourage and stimulate dialogue between the different historical and cultural identities of Italy and Turkey, the Italian Cultural Institute (Istituto Italiano di Cultura) in Istanbul has included in its 2013 programme a site-specific contemporary art installation that investigates the soul of the countries and their people.
To develop and realise this project the Italian Cultural Institute invited Angelo Bucarelli, the well-known Roman artist who combines content and aesthetics with great sensitivity and expressiveness to create three-dimensional works that evoke the identity of place, personal emotions and collective memory.
Fascinated by its historical and evocative qualities, Angelo Bucarelli chose for the location of his installation the ruins of the oldest hamman in Istanbul, the Küçük Mustafa Paşa, in Cibali, Fatih, just a short distance from the Golden Horn.
In this work Bucarelli has perfect his exhibition method that investigates, through the separation of the word and its visual prompts, the identity of cities or the landscapes of the cultures he encounters.

The installation

Bucarelli’s installation will develop the theme of water as the basis for the identity of the cities of Constantinople‐Byzantium‐Istanbul and has chosen as the title the resonant 15th century verse of Tursun Bey, historian and poet, and the author of the Conquest of Constantinople: Pioggia di Parole, (A Shower of Words), model for entrance hall, Ottoman words in blown glass.
Sheets in Turkish cotton embroidered in gold, silver and blue cobalt. “Water is the essence of the existence of Istanbul. From water and for water, it was born. It has bestowed power, which was then lost and regained. Through water Istanbul has nurtured itself on other cultures and exchanging its genius and beauty. The scarcity of water within the city walls led to the discovery of its genius and developed. Like thought, water permeates and rises, escapes and dissolves. It brings growth and death. Like the tears of love, it both unites and divides.‘ (Angelo Bucarelli)

The installation highlights (and is in turn enhanced by) local Turkish craftsmanship and its traditions in iron, textiles, glass and embroidery that are integrated with photography and technology. The chromatic liveliness and luminous silence create an intimate, yet spectacular, counterpoint to the ancient walls and spicy aromas of oriental markets.

The installation has received important support from Turkish and Italian institutions and will be documented in an illustrated catalogue with institutional and critical comments, presented by Maria Luisa Scolari, head of the Italian Cultural Institute in Istanbul.

The hammam

This splendid building, that has been abandoned since the 1990s, was built in 1477 during the reign of Mohamed II, 24 years after the conquest of Byzantium by the Ottomans (it is the oldest Hammam in Istanbul and has the largest dome of all of the city’s hammams). It is located in Cibali a quarter of Fatih, the oldest part of Istanbul between Sultanhamet (the historical tourist centre) and the Byzantine walls a short distance from the south coast of the Golden Horn. Cibali, Fatih and Balatsono are areas full of authenticity and are the object of rediscovery and restoration and regeneration projects.


Eclectic and versatile, Angelo Bucarelli began his artistic life in Rome at the beginning of the seventies, dividing his time between sculpture, photography, conceptual art and the cinema, working, among other things, as the assistant of Claude Lelouche and Federico Fellini.

Of his work Angelo Bucarelli says: "The word and its code (writing) form the basis of knowledge and our ability to understand. This is why, in my imagination, the word has taken on as much importance as a knowledge of its codes. The value of deciphering, memory, feeling, experience, imagination, hope, projection is alive in every word, maintaining a relationship with those we are familiar with from our identity and the ways in which we accept or reject them. Knowledge and ignorance. Immediacy and reflection. Conflict and tolerance. This is how my spaces are born. They are made of materials and surfaces conceived to stimulate perceptions at different speeds. The isolation of this word or that name can activate an evocative and analytical process that brings us back to the relationship with the essence of identity, of what it means to be human, of a place, an object a meaning."

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