The Portrait of Sakıp Sabancı To Be Displayed at Royal Academy of Arts

26 May 2016
The Portrait of Sakıp Sabancı To Be Displayed at Royal Academy of Arts

With the support of Sabancı Holding, Turkish filmmaker and artist Kutluğ Ataman is to display a major work at The Royal Academy of Arts’ 248th Summer Exhibition, which opens to the public on 13th June. THE PORTRAIT OF SAKIP SABANCI (2014), Ataman’s monumental multi-image video installation, was commissioned by the Sabancı family in 2011 to mark the ten-year anniversary of the passing of Turkish business leader and philanthropist Mr Sakıp Sabancı. It was selected for display by leading British sculptor and Royal Academician Richard Wilson, who is coordinating this year’s Summer Exhibition.

THE PORTRAIT OF SAKIP SABANCI is one of the largest examples of video art in existence and is adapted to fit each unique space that it is presented in. It is formed of approximately 10,000 LCD panels of passport-sized photographs – each one an individual portrait of one of the tens of thousands of people who crossed paths with Mr Sabancı. It reflects the businessman’s thoughts on human beings, life and art as well as his energy; collectively the photos form his portrait.

Through this work Ataman has created a moment of silence in honour of Mr Sabancı and emphasises his contribution to the development of technology in Turkey. The piece took three years to complete and uses state-of-the-art technology to create a work where the “raw material is, as a whole, human”. It is part of the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum Collection, Istanbul, and was previously displayed in Okwui Enwezor’s ‘All The World’s Futures’ exhibition at The Arsenale at the 56th International Venice Biennale in 2015. The Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition runs from 13 June until 21 August 2016

Speaking about “The Portrait of Sakıp Sabancı” at the RA Summer Exhibition, Kutluğ Ataman said:
"The Portrait of Sakıp Sabancı honours nearly 30 thousand individuals who contributed anonymously their own images in the construction of the work as much as it honours Mr Sabancı himself.  He loved his people and the people loved him back. This in my view was his greatest achievement.”

Dr Nazan Ölçer, Director of the S.U. Sakıp Sabancı Museum, said:
‘The Portrait of Sakıp Sabancı’ is of upmost importance to the S.U Sakıp Sabancı Museum, as a memorial to our founder Mr Sakıp Sabancı who touched so many lives during his lifetime. We are delighted that this work by Kutluğ Ataman, one of Turkey’s most significant contemporary artists, will be on display at the RA’s prestigious Summer Exhibition. The inclusive ethos represented by the RA’s open-entry policy for the Summer Exhibition are values which were very close to Mr Sabancı’s own heart, supporting, celebrating and inspiring creativity. We hope the piece will continue to inspire all those who experience it this summer.’

For further information or high res images for Kutluğ Ataman and the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum please contact Louise Collins, Sutton PR on +44(0)20 7183 3577 or

For further information about the RA Summer Exhibition please contact Monique Kent, RA Press Office, on +44(0)20 7300 5615 or

About Kutluğ Ataman:
Kutluğ Ataman, born in Istanbul in 1961, is an artist whose main medium of expression is the moving image. Ataman’s works have been exhibited at international art events including the 56th Venice Biennale, 2015, and Documenta in Germany in 2002, as well as major museums including MoMA in New York, Tate Britain in London, and Guggenheim Bilbao. He received the Carnegie Prize in Pittsburgh in 2004, was among the four finalists for the Turner Prize and was awarded the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2009. Ataman was the joint winner of the European Cultural Foundation’s Routes Princess Margriet Award in 2011 and was named artist of the year by The Observer newspaper in the UK. His works are included in private and institutional collections around the world including MoMA in New York, Tate Modern in London, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Vienna, the D.Daskalopoulos Collection in Athens and Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.

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