Since art is on a high rank on my personal list of interests, I spent some days and afternoons in Istanbul visiting museums, exhibitions, galleries and (temporary) art-spaces.
On our first day, we visited Istanbul Modern, which features an enormous selection of contemporary artworks. The safety arrangements at the entrance were quite impressive and - at first sight - a bit disproportionate, but we got an idea of their necessity when watching some of the more radical (in matters of religion/tradition/patriarchy) videoworks in the permanent exhibition. I really loved the staircase of the museum, which is an artwork itself - “Stairway to hell” by Monica Bonvicini.
We saw “Past and Future”, a huge show with works of modern and contemporary art in Turkey from its beginning to the present day. It’s a fantastic exhibition featuring some artists I already knew (Taner Ceylan, who’s such an AMAZING painter - I’ll write about him in a separate post, Rasim Aksan) and some new exiting ones (Ahmet Ertug, Siki Kösemen, Gül Ilgaz).
Rasim Aksan - Paparazzi
Taner Ceylan - Tuval Üzerine Yağlibuya
The second show we saw at Istanbul Modern was “Modernity? Perspectives from France and Turkey” with works by Nevin Aladağ, Fikret Atay, Kader Attia, Ayşe Erkmen, Cyprien Gaillard (I wrote about him here), Thomas Hirschhorn, Pierre Huyghe, Chris Marker (the director of the fantastic experimental movie “Sans Souleil”), Sarkis, Hale Tenger and Nasan Tur. Since France seems to be something like a role model for Turkey’s modernization, this exhibition explores the relation and the differences between these two nations and their idea of “modernity”.
We saw two other great shows at SALT (in Beyoglu), which is such a great place and a definite must-see for everyone art-interested spending some days in Istanbul.
太平天國/Taiping Tianguo, A History of Possible Encounters between Ai Weiwei, Frog King Kwok, Tehching Hsieh and Martin Wong in New York during the 1980s and early 1990s.
I already knew most of the pictures by Ai Weiwei but it’s always a pleasure to see them again - and again - and again. Because they’re really good and absolutely worth watching. It was my first encounter with Tehching Hsieh from Taiwan and I was overwhelmed by his “One Year Performances”. Such strong conceptional ideas! I’m curious about getting to know more of his work.
Statement for his first “One Year Performance” by Tehching Hsieh
The second show visited at SALT was an exhibition about the romanian art-trio subREAL. subREAL formed in Bucharest in 1990, right after the “television revolution” that ended the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1989, by artist Dan Mihălţianu, art historian Călin Dan and architect and photographer Iosif Király in April 1990, with the aim of “exorcising the residue of the decades of communist oppression.” subREAL investigated the culture of late-communist Romania, its transition into a form of liberal capitalism and the floundering establishment of democratic institutions during the 1990s.
I loved this one. Great ideas. Sometimes even funny ones.
subREAL framing Bucharest
We also visited some smaller galleries, but the best one (and probably the biggest player of them all) was The Galerist, located at Mesrutiyet Cadessi, where pictures by Ayca Telgeren were on display. Telgeren creates large scale paper works cut by hand (which is quite unbelievable because these pictures are SO big and SO full of details and SO filigree).
Blossom of heart by Ayca Telgeren
Istanbul is such a great place for seeing exciting contemporary art from all over the world and for all you artlovers out there, I strongly recommend visiting this vibrating city.