Exhibition at the pictures: Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence on screen

Orhan Pamuk in The Guardian:

MuseumI wrote The Museum of Innocence thinking of the museum, and created the museum thinking of the novel. The museum was not just some idea I chanced upon after the success of the book, nor was it a case of the success of the museum begetting the novel – as when certain blockbuster movies are transposed to book form. In fact, I conceived the novel and the museum simultaneously, and explained the complex link between them in the novel: a young man from a wealthy, westernised Istanbul family falls in love with a poor distant relation, and when his love goes unrequited, he finds solace in collecting everything his beloved has ever touched. Finally, as we learn at the end of the book, he takes all of these objects from daily life – postcards, photographs, matchsticks, saltshakers, keys, dresses, film clips, and toys, mementoes of his doomed love affair and of the Istanbul of the 1970s and 80s whose streets he wandered with his lover – and displays them in the Museum of Innocence.

Back in the mid-1990s, when I first began to work on this idea, my dream was to open the museum on the same day the novel was published. The novel would be the museum catalogue. The order of the entries and their accompanying texts would all be planned and manipulated meticulously, producing a catalogue that could be read and enjoyed as a postmodern sort of novel. But I finished the book before the museum, moulded it back into a traditional novel, without images or annotations, and published it in that form in 2008. When I opened the museum in 2012, I realised it still needed a catalogue to explain the design and composition of the exhibition vitrines I had laboured over endlessly, and to show the objects and photographs included in the collection, so I wrote and published The Innocence of Objects. Now, there is a fourth work, and one that I’d never imagined when I first embarked on this project: Grant Gee’s beautiful, enigmatic documentary film Innocence of Memories. This time I’m not the creative force behind the project; instead, my role is simply that of creator of the film’s true focus, the Museum of Innocence, and author of the texts featured in the film.

More here. (Note: For Abbas who was deeply moved by the Museum of Innocence this past June in Istanbul.)