Contemporary Istanbul announces participating galleries and new sections for its 14th edition

New additions include an open air sculpture park, a collaborative talks programme and an immersive installation on robotics

Visitors at the 12th edition of Contemporary Istanbul in Turkey. Alamy
Visitors at the 12th edition of Contemporary Istanbul in Turkey. Alamy

There are a series of new additions to this year’s Contemporary Istanbul (CI) in Turkey. Now in its 14th edition, the country’s leading annual art fair will feature 73 galleries from 22 countries, including South Korea, Argentina, Palestine, France, Germany and the US.

Around 510 artists will the shown along with 1,400 artworks on display during the fair’s run from September 12 to 15 at the Istanbul Congress Centre and the Rumeli Hall at the Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Centre.

First time gallery participants include Paris' High Art, which will present work by Max Hooper Schneider, whose sculptures combine technology and marine biology. Meanwhile, Zawyeh Gallery from Ramallah will bring painter Rana Samara's canvasses of intimate spaces. Vienna's Galerie Krinzinger will present Indian artist Sudarshan Shetty's material-fusing sculptures of wood and porcelain.

Returning galleries include Marlborough Gallery, Pi Artworks and Mobius Gallery, which will show Andrei Gamart's bold, narrative paintings; Galeri 77 from Istanbul will feature Vav Hakobyan's gestural abstract paintings.

“The program for 2019 reflects on the question of Mediterraneanism, exploring the unification of the basin,” said Anissa Touati, CI’s newly appointed artistic director, in a statement. It is an important question for Turkey, a country straddled between Europe and Asia.

This theme resonates strongest in CIF Dialogues, the fair’s talks programme. For the first time, CI has collaborated with another fair, Art-O-Rama, the first international art fair in the South of France, to present a series of talks in Marseille and Istanbul.

Delfina Foundation’s Deputy Director Salma Tuqan has developed the programme, themed ‘The Mediterranean as a mindset’, considering the sea’s historical role as a meeting point for Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia. It will also look at its significance as the geographical area where ancient cultures once intersected – Persian, Mesopotamian, Berber, Phoenician, Roman, Greek and Egyptian, to name a few.

The second series of talks in Istanbul will include the Black Mediterranean, which will discuss racial hierarchies in the region, the legacy of European colonialism in the surrounding countries and how this translates to today’s migrant crisis. The talk will be led by writer Ismail Einsahe with Milan-based collective Invernomuto and artist Ayesha Hameed.

Another development at CI is the introduction of an open air sculpture park entitled Garden of Eden. Curated by Touati, the section will feature French artist Ugo Schiavi’s moulded sculptures made of industrial material; Turkish Ebru Dosekci’s colourful large-scale works that play with form; Armenian Mikayel Okanjanyan’s textured stone pieces.

The fair’s Special Projects section has been featuring works from private collections since 2016. This year, the Recent Acquisitions exhibition builds on previous years and will present artworks from 42 private collections, mostly from Turkey’s leading collectors. Themed 'things, words, signs: this and the other', the exhibition is curated by CI Executive Committee member Hasan Bülent Kahraman.

In another Special Project, Turkish artist and architect Guvenc Ozel will debut his digital work DeepCity: Urban Environments in the Era of Surveillance Capitalism, an immersive installation that looks at artificial intelligence and robotics. In 2015, Ozel was awarded by Nasa for his Mars colony design.

The fair will coincide with the 16th Istanbul Biennial (IKSV), curated by Nicolas Bourriaud and themed The Seventh Continent, investigating the impact of human activity on the planet. The Biennial experienced a last-minute relocation earlier this month following delays in construction and discovery of toxic asbestos in its intended location, the Istanbul Shipyards.

The Biennial's new venue will be in Antrepo 5, a former warehouse and current art space in the Tophane district. Other locations for the event include the Pera Museum and Buyukada Island, one of the Prince’s Islands, which accessible by boat.

The Istanbul Biennial runs from Saturday, September 14 until Sunday, November 10.

Updated: September 1, 2019 04:54 PM


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