Turkey’s Orhan Pamuk is arguably the world’s first ever writer to create a novel and a museum about his work as well as to have a documentary made about his project.
The 2008 book “The Museum of Innocence” tells a story of a wealthy businessman’s pursuit of his first true love. Eventually forlorn of comfort and company, he covets and collects any object she may have touched, from lipsticks to cigarette stubs; items which end up becoming a shrine, or the museum of the novel’s title.
Pamuk came up with the idea in the mid 1990s to write the novel and to make a museum at the same time. The museum, set in the Beyoğlu neighbourhood of Istanbul, was inaugurated in 2012. Now a new version of his collection “The Museum of Innocence” can be seen in London’s Somerset House.
“A lot of visual elements of Istanbul of 70s, 80s are represented in the Museum of Innocence. All the things, kitchen utensils, objects, government papers you need to survive in Istanbul in the 2nd half of 20th century is represented in the story and in the museum. I wrote the novel thinking of the museum and did the museum, created the museum, in a way composed the museum thinking of the novel,” said Pamuk.
“The Museum of Innocence” was Pamuk’s first book after he won the Nobel Literature Prize in 2006.
In the latest addition to the collection, British filmmaker Grant Gee made a documentary called “Innocence of Memories” to provide a visual representation of the book’s story and main idea. It had its world premiere at last years Venice Film Festival.
“This was a long project and I never thought there would be a film based on this project, I am very happy that Grant Gee did that film, I also wrote original pages, dialogues, and texts for the film too,” added Pamuk.
The exhibition runs at London’s Somerset House until April while the film is showing at selected cinemas across the UK.