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"Art in a Modern Space" Art Book

Grand Hotel Efes holds a symbolic place in the minds of all who lived in Turkey in the 1960s. It constitutes one of the few rare venues in Turkey in which the most famous television and stage actors of the period, gentlemen infamously renowned as “playboys”, and equally chic men and women enjoyed the Felliniesque dolce vita life style. This symbolic character of the hotel simultaneously reflected several aspirations. The echoes of French cuisine, Italian fashion, and American cinema were thus carried to İzmir, a city known for its proximity to Western modernism, not only geographically, but culturally as well.

The overall perception beginning to emerge through the pages of newspapers and magazines following the opening of Grand Hotel Efes evoked the promise of unprecedented experiences. This life style was defined by a single adjective in those days: ‘European.’ The term simultaneously alluded to being European while not entirely becoming European. Befittingly, the hotel stood as the mirror of İzmir, a city where western standards of planned urbanization were ‘almost’ attained and a contemporary outlook was wellembedded in the social structure.

Shining out of İzmir in 1964, Grand Hotel Efes was, in a sense, a replica, smaller in size, yet ‘grand’ in name, of the ‘Greater Turkey’ ideal. It was luxurious, but still accessible. Those who could not afford to spend an entire vacation there could at least spare the cost of an overnight stay. It was an enchanting world into which admission was not a distant dream. A daily visit to the swimming pool was enough to catch a glimpse of an ostentatious world. It was European, yet equally ‘local’. It was the embodiment of how the Modern Turkish Republic was envisaged… Better yet, it was located in a city where the National War of Independence had been won and the first Economics Conference was held with the anticipation of an ‘economically prosperous Turkey.’

This book strives to present to readers the art collection of a hotel presently known as Swissôtel Grand Efes and acknowledged as one of the leading symbols of Turkish modernism. In this pursuit, it is does not refrain from glancing into what is revealed between the founding stones of the hotel’s emblematic building. The common feature of the works both inherited from the Swissotel Büyük Efes period and the works displayed as part of MV Holding’s contemporary art collection at the Swissotel Büyük Efes is that they narrate a tale of continued existence that commences at important turning points of Turkish history and resumes with contemporary articulations of architecture. This is a multi-layered tale; the historic milestones of the path that extends from Swissotel Büyük Efes to Swissôtel Grand Efes is, in a sense, the tale of Turkey…