Galeri Nev was among 13 participating Turkish galleries (out of 87 in total) and this is one area where AI differs from its counterpart, the decade-old Contemporary Istanbul (CI), held in November and heavy on traditional and modern Turkish art. “The Turks like CI; it’s all glitz, glamour, see-and-be-seen, and a bit of ‘she bought that? I’ll buy one too,’” commented one Turkish dealer. Still, 34,328 visitors made their way to the three-day AI—a figure up from 22,000 last year, perhaps largely attributed to the biennial, for which the fair cut its run short. While the majority of visitors and collectors at the fair were Turks, the fair brought in a reported $30.2 million in sales.
Among the partaking freshmen was Madrid’s Sabrina Amrani
, which, in its short history of fair participation, has maintained a high level of curatorial oversight. For AI, its dominating theme was signs and language across a roster of artists from the Middle East and North Africa. The gallery sold a work by
to a Turkish buyer and an edition by the Tunisian artist was on reserve by a British institution. Parts of the fair did give rise to the feeling that one had arrived in Spain thanks to a large, somewhat overlooked smattering of galleries from the country. (The Catalan government had apparently supported their participation.)