Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk

Do Not Hope for Continuity

“I ran away, but I returned, and I will continue to tell its story. It’s natural that I write about it because this is the best place I know.” Watch Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk in this interview about his relationship with Istanbul – now and then.

“We are living at the edge of Europe with aspirations to be modern and European.” Pamuk, who has spent his whole life in Istanbul, feels that it is a privilege to have witnessed how the city has grown in the span of a lifetime. However, he didn’t become conscious of being a so-called ‘Istanbul-writer’ before he was around 45 years old. Being born into a Westernized middle-class family, he initially wrote mainly about that class, but slowly more and more of the city and its inhabitants have found their way into his books. Nevertheless, Pamuk is clear that he does not embellish the city: “It’s like my body. It’s like our families. Our relationship. What’s given to us by God. My history. I don’t glamorize it.”

On the subject of the melancholy that seems to run through his books, Pamuk explains that he cares about decaying, colonial buildings as it reminds him of the Istanbul of his early days, and goes on to comment on the wisdom that he’s gained from the city: “What I’ve learned in 65 years is: Don’t hope for continuity, don’t naively hope that your memories will be preserved and people will be worshipping, caring or paying attention. Just learn that in the end everything will be washed away. If you learn not to aspire too much, resignation helps.”

Orhan Pamuk (b. 1952) is Turkey’s best selling novelist and the recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. Pamuk is the author of several novels including ‘The White Castle’ (1990), ‘The Black Book’ (1994), ‘My Name is Red’ (2001), ‘Snow’ (2004), ‘The Museum of Innocence’ (2009), ‘Strangeness in My Mind’ (2015) and ‘The Red-Haired Woman’ (2016). He is also the recipient of numerous other prestigious literary awards such as the 2002 Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger and the 2003 International Dublin Literary Award. For more see: https://www.orhanpamuk.net/

Orhan Pamuk was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in May 2017.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken and Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Peter Land

    Man Falling

    Meet an artist who uncompromisingly uses himself in his art. Inspired by his own fears and anxieties Peter Land makes disturbingly humorous work, but it was moral qualms that were behind his groundbreaking video of himself dancing naked.

  • Mika Rottenberg

    Girl Power From Another Century

    Meet the truly original video artist Mika Rottenberg! Here she shares the fascinating story behind her take on Orwell's 'Animal Farm' – a work in which a group of women with extremely long hair turn things around – and take fate into their own hands.

  • Vigdis Hjorth

    I am not a Pretty Postcard

    “Writing is the relationship between head, gut and hand.” Vigdis Hjorth is considered one of the strongest voices in contemporary Norwegian literature. She here shares why it is essential for her well-being to be able to express herself in writing.

  • Yona Friedman

    Architecture of Trial and Error

    “Don't forget that very important cities today started by immigration.” Meet the 94-year-old architect behind 'L’Architecture Mobile', Yona Friedman. He here shares the story of how his years as a refugee sparked his desire to make architecture adaptable.

  • Nástio Mosquito

    'Mama Africa' is a Construct

    In this short interview Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito discusses his provocative video work, in which he through three blazing speeches addresses the legacy of the western logic of ownership and debt, not least regarding a construct like ‘Africa’.

  • Nástio Mosquito

    What are You Willing to Die for?

    Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito has been dubbed “the future star of the art world.” He here talks about his invigorating multidisciplinary practice, which investigates universally human characteristics in a teasing, polemic and humorous way.

  • Marina Abramović

    Electricity Passing Through

    For more than 50 years trailblazing performance artist Marina Abramović has used her own body and energy as her main artistic material. In this powerful interview, the artist looks back on her radical practice: “It was like the first woman walking on the moon.”

  • The Story of Marina Abramović & Ulay

    Legendary couple in performance art – Marina Abramović and Ulay – lived together for 12 years and made pioneering work as a duo. In this extraordinary double interview the artists look back on their relationship – from their first meeting in 1975 until now.

  • 11 Artists

    on Photography

    “We are so oversaturated with images, so it’s about one question: Can I hold you - can I get you to look at an image for longer than a second?” Watch Catherine Opie, Wim Wenders, Jeff Wall and 8 other artists on the power and potential of photography.

  • Julie Nord

    The Power of Drawing

    “It’s the closest you get to silence – or skin. There’s so little between me as an artist and my material.” Artist Julie Nord here shares her attraction to the "no bullshit" of drawing. Visit her studio and take a peek at how she makes her surreal, fairy tale-like drawings.

  • Nina Saunders

    A Cultural Warrior

    Meet artist Nina Saunders who plays with the familiar by twisting it in surprising ways. She here discusses her humorous yet disturbing work – made from discarded upholstered furniture and stuffed animals – which comments on our world.

  • Erica Jong

    Sexuality and Creativity

    “The urge to create and the urge to copulate are very close.” Watch the iconic feminist writer Erica Jong speak candidly of being fuelled creatively by desire, her experiences as a female writer and what she has come to realize about men.