"Arrival City Istanbul: Flight, Modernity and Metropolis at the Bosporus. With an Excursus on the Island Exile of Leon Trotsky"

Burcu Dogramaci

Arrival Cities. Migrating Artists and New Metropolitan Topographies in the 20th Century, edited by Burcu Dogramaci, Mareike Hetschold, Rachel Lee, Laura Karp Lugo, Helene Roth, Leuven University Press, 2020, pp. 205–225

This contribution deals with Istanbul as a destination metropolis for refugee artists fleeing in the first half of the 20th century. As a city on two continents with its multireligious and ethnic population, Istanbul offered the emigrants heterogeneous experiences of arrival. Depending on the neighborhoods, their development and population, the proximity (or distance) to the water, or the accessibility by public transport, Istanbul showed different faces. Thus, this city body gives numerous clues to explore the interaction of migration or exile, architecture and city. Districts such as Beyoğlu / Galata were the target of various emigration movements. Institutions such as the Academy of Fine Arts, Istanbul University or social “contact zones” such as hotels, cafés and bars made interrelations possible between emigrants and / or locals. For the houses built by migrant architects in the 1930s and 1940s such as Villa Ragip Devres (architect: Ernst Egli), the House Eckert-Emirgan (architect: Clemens Holzmeister) or the own home of the Berlin architect Bruno Taut, the Bosphorus provided an important reference point. The specific aesthetic of Taut’s house leads to reflections on the interrelation of exile and modernity. The essay will end with the stay of Leon Trotsky on the prince island of Büyükada and concluding thoughts on the insular status of exile.