A Field Guide to Contemporary Istanbul

Between a focus on Russia, the debut of a new media section and a showcase of Viennese artists, this year’s Contemporary Istanbul fair offers a diverse and exciting new program. Now in its eighth year, while establishing Istanbul as a contemporary art center, Contemporary Istanbul also highlights Turkish art and culture.

1. When and Where?

Contemporary Istanbul takes November 7th through 10th at two venues: The Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre (ICEC) and Istanbul Congress Center (ICC).

2. A Comprehensive Fair, in the Heart of Istanbul

As Turkey’s most comprehensive contemporary art event, Contemporary Istanbul gathers 92 galleries from 21 countries, with works from 650 international and Turkish artists.

3. A Global and Local Approach

Half of the exhibitors at the fair represent the Balkans, North Africa, and Eastern Mediterranean countries while the other half represents America or Europe. Internationally renowned galleries to attend include C24 Gallery, New York, Marlborough Gallery, New York, Galerie Lelong, Paris, Opera Gallery, Geneva, and Pi Artworks, Istanbul.

4. “Plug In” to the New Media Section

This year’s fair debuts a new media section—aptly named “Plug In”—boasting a uniquely wide scope, including video art, sound and light installations, interactive design, indoor mapping projects and robotic designs. In addition to art galleries, Plug In will include design and architecture firms, in order to further promote collaboration between art and technology. This portion of the fair will have its own space, occupying 1,000 square meters of the fair.

5. Explore New Horizons

Contemporary Istanbul’s New Horizons section is dedicated to a single country each year; this year’s focus is Russia. The fair will host Russian galleries, artists, curators, publications, critics and collectors in order to explore the contemporary art scene in Russia. Russian galleries presenting include: Al Gallery, Pop/Off/Art, Marina Gisich, Anna Nova, Art re.Flex Gallery, Galerie Blue Square, and Galerie Iragui. A conversation on the art scene in Russia will take place Saturday, Nov. 9th at 4:30pm between Russian writer and curator Iara Boubnova and director of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Vasily Tseretely.

6. Engage in the DIYALOG: Art from Vienna

This year, CI’s DIYALOG explores leading contemporary artists working in Vienna. This showcase including 20 artists chosen by 10 curators who were asked to nominate one older, established artist and one younger artist showing potential. Artists include Jakob Lena Knebl, Brigitte Kowanz, Hans Scheirl, Constantin Luser, Gabriele Edlbauer, Rudolf Polanzsky and Rita Nowak. Aiming to create a dialog on Viennese art the project also intends to increase cultural exchange between Turkey and Vienna. To accompany the showcase, there will be a talk between Edelbert Köb, Curator and Former Director of MUMOK, Vienna, Georg Schöllhammer, Author, Curator, and Founding Editor of Springerin Magazine and Dr. Vanessa Joan Mueller, Deputy Director, Kunsthalle Wien, to discuss contemporary art in Vienna.

7. Meet Hermann Nitsch

For the fair’s opening night performance, Hermann Nitsch executes his 66th Painting Performance, titled Malakt. A founding member of Vienna Actionism, the result of Nitsch’s performance will be exhibited in Istanbul Congress Center throughout the fair. Nitsch will be in conversation with curator Marcus Graf on Nov. 9th at 2pm.

8. Attend CI Dialogues

CI Dialogues, the fair’s talks programme presents several offerings each day of the fair, themed around new technology, media and art in honor of the new Plug In section. The programme aims to explore the mutual influences relationship between art and technology. Some highlights include:

New Media: Production and Display
Thursday, Nov. 7, 2-3pm.

Curator Ebru Yetişkin speaks with Turkish new media artists Candaş Şişman and Ozan Türkkan about the challenges of creating new media art in Turkey.

Robert Montgomery

Friday, Nov. 8, 2:30-3:15pm

Scottish artist Robert Montgomery speak with director of C24 Gallery Lisa de Simone, about his artistic practice and use of new media.

See the full schedule here.

9. CI’s Art School: Bodrum Contemporary Art Campus (BCAC)

Bodrum Contemporary Art Campus (BCAC), an artist’s residency programme organized and funded by CI recently launch in July 2013. Located on Turkey’s Southern Coast, BCAC provides local and international emerging artists with up to one year of support. Works by artists who have participated in this year’s residency will be exhibited at the fair, including Engin Konuklu, Görkem Ergün, Duygu Sabancılar and Ahmet Sari.

10. Celebrate All Week Long with Art Istanbul

Contemporary Istanbul coordinates with the Istanbul Biennial to present Art Istanbul, a week-long programme of activities around the city, running alongside the fair. From Nov. 4th through 10th, galleries, museums, and cultural centers host activities including talks, performances, and workshops. Find out more here.

Explore Contemporary Istanbul 2013 on Artsy.

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