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transmediale Artistic Director Kristoffer Gansing Looks Back Ocula Conversation transmediale Artistic Director Kristoffer Gansing Looks Back Terence Sharpe, Berlin

Since 2012, Kristoffer Gansing has worked as the artistic director of transmediale—a festival at the forefront of digital media and culture that analyses the current moment through self-reflection and anticipation of rapidly oscillating futures. Explorations into moving image, online culture, and the socio-political landscape of digital...

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Taipei Lowdown: Shows to See Ocula Report Taipei Lowdown: Shows to See Tessa Moldan, Taipei

As Taipei Dangdai returns for its second edition between 17 and 19 January 2020 at the Nangang Exhibition Center, a selection of exhibitions across the city confirm Taipei as one of the region's most exciting art hubs. Yahon Chang: Cursive OUR Museum, National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA), No. 59, Section 1, Daguan Road, Banqiao...

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Images from Abroad: Lada Nakonechna at Galerie EIGEN + ART Ocula Insight Images from Abroad: Lada Nakonechna at Galerie EIGEN + ART Phoebe Blatton, Berlin

Lada Nakonechna's solo exhibition, Images from abroad at Galerie EIGEN + ART (9 January–20 February 2020) ostensibly takes place on an end wall of the gallery. The wall bears markings hand-drawn in graphite that evoke shadows once cast by pictures, since removed, their fixtures also left in situ. Serving as a framework of variable...

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Istanbul Art Guide

Turkey

Current Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Elmas Deniz, Three Hues of Water at Zilberman Gallery, Istanbul
14 December 2019–21 February 2020 Elmas Deniz Three Hues of Water Zilberman Gallery, Istanbul

Galleries In Istanbul

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Institutions

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Ocula Magazine

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16th Istanbul Biennial Collapses Culture-Nature Divide Ocula Report 16th Istanbul Biennial Collapses Culture-Nature Divide Stephanie Bailey, Istanbul

At the opening of the 16th Istanbul Biennial, The Seventh Continent (14 September–10 November 2019), curator Nicolas Bourriaud began his introduction with a clip from Werner Herzog's 1982 movie Fitzcarraldo , the story of a man who moves a steamship up a hill in the process of fulfilling a fantasy to build an opera house in the Amazon jungle....

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Contemporary Istanbul: Open for business Ocula Report Contemporary Istanbul: Open for business Stephanie Bailey, Istanbul

On the surface, it's business as usual on the streets of Istanbul, not to mention the halls of the city's art fair, Contemporary Istanbul (CI)—despite the massive depreciation of Turkey's Lira in 2018, which has seen its value against the US dollar drop nearly 40 percent. 1 The currency crash has been blamed on US sanctions, tariffs on...

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A Pinch with Salt: A Report from the 14th Istanbul Biennial Ocula Report A Pinch with Salt: A Report from the 14th Istanbul Biennial Stephanie Bailey, Istanbul

My first impression of the 14th Istanbul Biennial, Saltwater: A Theory of Thought Forms, was that its curator (or 'drafter'), Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (CCB), must dislike her audience. If this is indeed the case, it would be a terrible shame for the Istanbul Biennial and its visitors, but worse still for its artists, all of whom thankfully...

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Mad Times: A Report from ArtInternational 2015 Ocula Report Mad Times: A Report from ArtInternational 2015 Stephanie Bailey, Istanbul

According to a report by The Art Newspaper, this year's   edition of ArtInternational (which opened in Istanbul on 05 September) opened one day later and ran one day shorter because of sustained pressure from the 14th Istanbul Biennial curator, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev. It was reported that Bakargiev had made "no secret of her...

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Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev Ocula Conversation Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev Stephanie Bailey, Istanbul

In this Ocula Conversation, curator, author and researcher Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev talks about the 14th Istanbul Biennial:  SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms (5 September-1 November 2015). This conversation considers the title of the Biennial, and the themes being addressed, and for what purposes. Christov-Bakargiev describes some...

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Sevda Elgiz Ocula Conversation Sevda Elgiz Sarah Werkmeister, Istanbul

In 2001, Sevda and Can Elgiz founded the Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum. Their mission was to support emerging artists by providing them with a space to show experimental art. As new art institutions opened in the wake of their initiative, the Elgiz' decided their personal collection was vast enough to justify converting the space into a private...

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Jannis Kounellis Ocula Conversation Jannis Kounellis Anna Dickie, London and Hong Kong

Born in Greece, but living in Italy since 1956, Kounellis has been a major figure in contemporary art for over fifty years. The artist is often referred to as one of the forefathers of the Arte Povera movement – a movement that arose in the 1960s and played a central role in redefining artistic practice with radical and highly original...

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Dyala Nusseibeh Ocula Conversation Dyala Nusseibeh

Dyala Nusseibeh is the fair director of Istanbul’s new international contemporary art fair, ArtInternational.  Despite opening in a country recently wracked by protest, and notwithstanding litigation and a subsequent last minute change of name, the fair had a successful debut. Running from 16 to 18 September 2013, ArtInternational...

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Picturing Ai Weiwei in Istanbul Related Press Picturing Ai Weiwei in Istanbul 5 January 2018, Hyperallergic

In an era where superstar Chinese artist Ai Weiwei feels ubiquitous, this past summer I experienced the full extent of that reality over the course of two months. After attending a New York preview for his new film about migrants, Human Flow (2017), I traveled to Israel to visit a major exhibition of his work at the Israel Museum in West...

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The Istanbul Biennial Examines the Tricky Question of What Makes a “Good Neighbor” Related Press The Istanbul Biennial Examines the Tricky Question of What Makes a “Good Neighbor” 31 October 2017, Hyperallergic

In the months leading up to the 15th edition of the Istanbul Biennial, posters — hung in windows alongside 'For Rent' signs and pasted next to broadsides advertising concerts began asking the city's residents some very personal questions: Is a good neighbor someone you rarely see? Is a good neighbor richer or poorer than you? Is a good...

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In Conversation With Elmgreem & Dragset Related Press In Conversation With Elmgreem & Dragset 15 September 2017, Bazaar

The Danish-Norwegian artist duo have been challenging notions of power through their multidisciplinary work since they first emerged in 1995. They've now taken on the curation of this year's Istanbul Biennial. Maria Marques speaks to them in Istanbul. In the winter of 2012, an unusual figure joined the austere statues in London's Trafalgar...

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Elmgreen & Dragset reveal details of the Istanbul Biennial Related Press Elmgreen & Dragset reveal details of the Istanbul Biennial 16 June 2017, The Art Newspaper

The high-profile Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, who took part in Art Basel's Conversation programme earlier this week, revealed to us more details of the 15th Istanbul Biennial, which they are organising. The exhibition will feature 30 new commissions and works by ten Turkish artists out of a total of 57. A full list of artists...

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Contemporary Istanbul raided by Islamist group Related Press Contemporary Istanbul raided by Islamist group 4 November 2016, ArtAsiaPacific

On the evening of November 3, the 11th edition of the Contemporary Istanbul art fair at the Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Center was stormed by an Islamist group angered by the depiction of the last Ottoman sultan, Abdulhamid II, in an artwork by Ali Elmacı at the booth of Chilean gallery Isabel Croxatto. The group demanded the removal of the...

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Sharjah Biennial announces cross-national programming for thirteenth edition Related Press Sharjah Biennial announces cross-national programming for thirteenth edition 16 October 2016, Artforum

To be curated by Christine Tohmé, the thirteenth edition of the Sharjah Biennial will span five cities—Beirut, Dakar, Istanbul, Ramallah, and Sharjah—for a year of programming.

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Art and instability in Istanbul Related Press Art and instability in Istanbul 27 June 2016, Apollo Magazine

Anyone who witnessed Istanbul’s rise as a cosmopolitan hub over the past decade will notice the stark change that has come over it this year. Three suicide bomb attacks in the past six months have cast a pall over the city, as well as striking a blow to its already struggling contemporary art scene. Official statistics showed a 28 per...

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Fourth edition of Art International in Istanbul is postponed Related Press Fourth edition of Art International in Istanbul is postponed 27 April 2016, The Art Newspaper

The organisers of Art International, the Istanbul-based contemporary art fair, have decided to postpone this year’s edition, which was scheduled to take place this autumn (23-25 September) at the Haliç Congress Centre on the banks of the Golden Horn. “The fair is on hold until we can put together something all the stakeholders and...

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Recent Events

Contemporary art exhibition, 15th Istanbul Biennial at Ocula Private Sales & Advisory, London
16 September–12 November 2017 15th Istanbul Biennial

Outside of its rich and complex history within the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is widely known for its art, particularly through the art fair Contemporary Istanbul and the Istanbul Biennial, both of which prove the city as a major art hub not only in the far past, but also for contemporary art today.

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Istanbul Modern is Turkey's first private museum of modern and contemporary art and was opened in 2004. Istanbul Modern places emphasis on artists from the region. Such artists include Hoca Ali Rıza, Nurullah Berk, Nedim Günsür, Omer Uluç, and Canan Tolon, amongst others. The museum's permanent collection also includes renowned international artists such as Adrián Villar Rojas and Olafur Eliasson. Past exhibitions range from a retrospective on Erol Akyavaş to a group exhibition on love and politics featuring Alessandro Pessoli, Hiraki Sawa, Boyd Webb, and Saskia Olde Wolbers. In addition to the permanent collection and temporary exhibition spaces, there is also a photography gallery, video area, library, and cinema. For galleries, a highly recommended area to explore is Karaköy neighbourhood of the city, where you can find artSümer.

A modern art museum, but much more research-informed, Salt Beyoğlu is equally known for its programming as its exhibitions. The museum has another locationin Istanbul called Salt Galata, dedicated to workshops, research, exhibitions, and conferences. Focused on visual and material culture, Salt Beyoğlu's exhibitions have included research-based, Eurasia-focused collective Slavs and Tatars' first mid-career survey. The not-for-profit art centre Arter is a contemporary art space opened in 2010; its inaugural exhibition was titled Starter and ambitiously exhibited more than 160 works by 87 artists.

For older works visit the Pera Museum's permanent collection, which consists of four sections: Orientalist paintings, Anatolian weights and measuresy, Kütahya tiles and ceramics, and photography. The impressive photography collection covers the 19th and 20th centuries, with more than 7,000 photographs of the city. Pera's exhibits feature artists like Rembrandt, Joan Miró, Akira Kurosawa, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Frida Kahlo.

For more local and international historical paintings, check out the National Palaces Painting Museum, which showcases pieces from the palace's collection. For even older works that date further back, visit The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, now known as the Chora Museum. Previously a medieval Byzantine Greek Orthodox church, it was turned into a mosque in the 15th century and a museum in 1945. It has preserved many of its mosaics, which mostly date from 1077–1081, and provides a satisfying timeline of the history of the arts in Istanbul.

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