In advance of Istanbul’s ArtInternational fair, which opens to the public this Friday, we asked Isabella Icoz, the Istanbul-based art advisor, collector, and head of VIP relations and programming for ArtInternational, to offer her insights on our list of trending artists under age 40 at the fair. Below, Icoz shares her takeaways on the diverse list of established and emerging artists—from Daniel Arsham, whose work she personally collects, to Angel Otero, whose work she curated in Istanbul in 2012.
I am very excited by the diverse range and high caliber of artworks being exhibited at this year’s ArtInternational. The galleries have made a concerted effort to bring works that speak to both the region and wider marketplace, with the majority of artworks made specifically for this fair. I believe collectors will appreciate these fresh pieces from both emerging and established artists. This fair has something for everyone; the trending list is as diverse as our clientele, while retaining a strong standard across the board.
I am thrilled, and not surprised, to see Daniel Arsham trending the strongest. Arsham is an artist who I have been following for several years now and whose work I actively buy both for myself and for clients. Over the past decade, Arsham has developed a unique mode of sculptural production. Casting everyday objects in unconventional materials, he seeks to revise preconceived notions of materiality by forcing stone, resin, and fibreglass to behave in unexpected ways. Integral to this process is experimentation; applying a corrosive chemical to the inside of the mold, the eroded surface of the cast is only revealed once the final sculpture is removed and the chemical reaction halted. Arsham has produced a series of new sculptures specifically for ArtInternational, made of materials such as volcanic ash, steel, and shattered glass, and comprising radios, Walkmans, and a guitar to create reformed musical instruments.
I first saw an artwork by Waqas Khan at Frieze last year and he has since been on my radar. He makes drawings that start as tiny, precise circles and expand to become vast fields of shimmering light and shade. What I especially like about the work is the tension between the precision of Khan’s mind and the freedom that his drawing actually creates. Even though the work is geometric in technique, it feels organic in nature. I am looking forward to seeing his works in the flesh.
Shirana Shahbazi is more of a recent discovery for me; I am less familiar with her work. Shahbazi is inspired by Old Masters and through her work she stages and rearranges still lifes, which she photographs and develops in spatial installations, in combination with other photos. Many Turkish collectors respond to Abstract Expressionist
works, so I feel her work captures a newer trend that is becoming increasingly popular in this region.
Francesca DiMattio is an artist whose work I love. A collector friend of mine introduced me to her work over a year ago and since then she has been on my radar. Sculpture and ceramics are being increasingly bought in Turkey and DiMattio has a very fresh, unique approach with her combination of materials and use of color that I feel will grab the attention of collectors throughout the region. Her paintings are also beautiful, with Foulard (2014) being a personal favorite. The piece effectively captures DiMattio’s preoccupation with the space between things and the shapes created when three-dimensional objects intersect on a two-dimensional plane.
Sergen Şehitoğlu is an artist I just discovered through Artsy. I am thrilled to learn about Turkish artists whose work I am not familiar with and excited to discover his works at the fair.
Gözde İlkin is an artist who I actively support and whose work I have long admired and have bought both for myself as well as for clients. The new generation of collectors in this region are actively supporting female artists, and embroidery is often a favored medium. İlkin generally creates her work on found fabric and embroiders her stories, often focusing on issues of gender, identity, and social structures. I am excited that our international guests will have a chance to see these works at the fair.
A rising artist in the Chinese art scene, Cui Xinming approaches the canvas as an extension of images he takes from his mind and memory. The work is quite fantastical in nature, with expansive oil-on-canvas works that express in an often-vivid, painterly style the tumultuous thoughts and reflections of a younger Chinese generation, and which raise issues that the wider region can also relate to.
With Iran being a neighbor to Turkey, it was inevitable that art from Iran would permeate the Turkish art market and that collectors would respond. Gohar Dashti’s photographs reflect the post-war generation of Iran that has inherited a legacy of war and the memories associated with it.
Burak Delier has a strong following in Turkey and is becoming recognized internationally, as his presence in this list shows. His work explores the relationship between capitalism and art, mixing seriousness and wit to critique society in a way that is relevant to Turkey and beyond.
Angel Otero is one of my favorite artists of his generation, whose work I have followed closely for over five years now. He is an artist that I collect in depth and whose work I have placed in many collections. I curated a show of Angel’s in Istanbul back in 2012, so I am delighted to see his name on the list. His work does not always photograph well, but collectors are usually blown away when they see the work in the flesh—so I suspect that he will continue to trend. Angel has developed a unique process of oil paint scraping to reconfigure personal and historical narratives.
The list of artists is so diverse, be it in style, region or medium, and I think this accurately reflects what this fair is all about. ArtInternational offers its viewers an opportunity to see established and emerging artists side-by-side, with the works held at a consistently high standard, but ensuring that there is something new for everyone to discover while celebrating artists that we now expect to see at fairs of this caliber.