This September, the city gears up for the 14th Istanbul Biennial: “SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms,” curated by “dOCUMENTA (13)” Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, opening September 5th. Christov-Bakargiev’s installment explores the physical, metaphysical, and symbolic characteristics of water in exhibitions that spread along the shores of the Bosphorus strait, which divides the city into European and Asian halves. The projects can be found in the city’s six central districts: Northern Bosphorus, Beyoğlu, Şişli, the Old City, Kadıköy, and the Princes’ Islands.
While some of these areas are home to established cultural institutions, others will become temporary pilgrimage sites, with the art crowd on the hunt for boats, hotel rooms, garages, gardens, schools, shops, and private homes being repurposed as exhibition spaces. While visiting every venue will prove challenging even for locals, this guide to must-see exhibitions and art haunts beyond the biennial is meant to assuage the fear of missing out in a city teeming with creative output.