Before resuming its original function as public baths, Zeyrek Çinili Hamam in Istanbul presents the contemporary art exhibition Healing Ruins. This one-off exhibition to mark the hammam’s opening takes place throughout the historic 16th century baths and newly uncovered Byzantine cisterns.

Curated by Anlam de Coster, Healing Ruins draws inspiration from the layers of the past uncovered by Zeyrek Çinili Hamam’s 13-year-long restoration, involving meticulous archaeological excavations. Showcasing the works of 22 artists from Turkey and abroad, including new site-specific commissions, the exhibition is on view from 30 September until 5 November 2023. 

Healing Ruins explores the possibilities for transformation at both an individual and societal level. The title purposefully carries multiple meanings, suggesting not only that ruins are inherently healing, but that the act of repairing ruins might have a transformative effect on us. It also implies that purification, creation, and repair can only occur through an arduous process, much like the hammam ritual itself.

Twelve artists were invited to create new site-specific works responding to the history, mythology, and architecture of Zeyrek Çinili Hamam: Francesco Albano, Adrian Geller, Alice Guittard, Başak Günak, Maryam Hoseini, Ahmet Doğu İpek, Lara Ögel, Zoë Paul, Daniel Silver, Panos Tsagaris, Ezgi Türksoy, and Elif Uras. Built in the 1530s by the famed Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, the baths have served as a place for purification, cleansing, renewal, and atonement for over 500 years. The exhibition also features works by Erol Akyavaş, Mehtap Baydu, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, Dorothy Cross, Candeğer Furtun, Cecilia Granara, Renée Levi, Maude Maris, Ayça Telgeren, and Marion Verboom.

Taken over by sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs and installations, Zeyrek Çinili Hamam has been transformed once more into an excavation site, unearthing remnants of individual and collective memory. Legends, whispers, poems, bodies, rituals, symbols, secrets, love stories, pain, hopes, and ghosts, which have been lost and forgotten over time, find new forms and perspectives.

Open hours

Tuesday–Sunday 10.00–18.00

Mondays closed

Admission free


About Zeyrek Çinili Hamam

Zeyrek Çinili Hamam, located in the Zeyrek district of Istanbul, was commissioned by Hayreddin Barbarossa, the Grand Admiral of the Ottoman Navy, and built between 1530 and 1540 by the famed architect Mimar Sinan. An ambitious restoration project led by The Marmara Group has uncovered the hammam’s layers of history, restored the building’s original features, and returned it to its original purpose as a public bath. Zeyrek Çinili Hamam includes a new museum displaying the historic artefacts found during the restoration, and the objects associated with traditions of the Ottoman bathing ritual. Visitors can also explore the newly discovered Byzantine cisterns, which will host a rotating programme of contemporary art installations.

About Anlam Arslanoğlu De Coster

Anlam Arslanoğlu De Coster is a curator and the founder of Fairplay, an international arts and design studio. With over 15 years of experience across London, Paris and Istanbul, Anlam has worked with prominent museums such as Istanbul Modern, SALT, Musée des Arts Décoratifs Paris, and coordinated big-scale international projects for The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV). She has also collaborated with fairs including PAD London, NOMAD, ARTINTERNATIONAL and FIAC, and galleries such as Goodman Gallery and Ballon Rouge. Prior to Fairplay, Anlam led global strategic partnerships at Artsy, the world's leading online art platform, where she spearheaded the digital transformation of hundreds of fairs such as Art Brussels and Photo London.

Anlam regularly contributes to art magazines and is a longtime advisor to fashion brands Dice Kayek and Maison Amélie Pichard. She graduated Cum Laude from Sciences Po Paris and holds an M.A. in Arts and Media Administration.