My Highlights from Contemporary Istanbul 2014

Huma Kabakcı
Nov 4, 2014 4:11PM

I selected these individual artworks based on the reasoning of why I was drawn to them at the first sight; two of the artists I selected, I did not even know of before. I guess I can say that the use of materiality, the historical connotations, the concept, contexts of these works were all underlying themes guiding my selection. The selection of these artworks goes beyond aesthetics—this of course might change if I am physically standing in front of these pieces.

My Selection:

Parastou Forouhar, Swan Rider 2, 2004, at Galerist

I first came across Parastou Forouhar’s works at Rose Issa about 6 years ago in London. In the “Swan Rider” series, the artist plays with irony vs. reality. The artist portrays herself, dressed in a black chador, riding along a river on a huge white swan. Despite the fact that there are a lot of mythological, historical references tackling identity, freedom and different cultural contexts, I find this series beautiful and moving. 

Irakli Bugiani, Untitled, 2013, at Project ArtBeat

I must admit, I had not heard of this artist before. However, I find his paintings to be meaningful, as they portray the struggle between past and present. The colours of the neglected buildings remind me of some sort of nostalgia, a lost memory, a passage of time…  

Kerim Ragimov, Human project. Episode #47, 2014, at Marina Gisich Gallery

Post-soviet art draws me somehow, probably because of my interest in Central Asia and Caucasus art. I like the fact that this particular painting is realistic, but there is also a play between media imagery and historical events. I like the fact that Ragimov takes an anthropological approach to his group portraits and how he shapes reality.

Kwak Dong-Hoon, Self-Respect, 2013, at Heis Gallery

Again, don't know this artist. I was purely drawn to the sculpture’s use of materiality. The realistic depiction of a creased shirt made out of glass is just beautiful.

Ali Taptık, Uzaktan Akrabalar, 2013, at The Empire Project

I am more familiar with Ali Taptık’s photographic works, so when I saw this LED/video installation of a woman, it intrigued me. Of course, as I have not seen this in real life, it also makes me curious to see the visual aspect of the video installation. 

Ulrich Erben, Untitled, 1998, at art ON Istanbul

I usually admire Erben’s large, oil on canvas and older works; however, I was drawn to the contour and the mark-makings of this paper work immediately. 

Andrea Guastavino, Untitled, 2013, at Aria Art Gallery

I love how these prints on paper look messy and create a “fluxus” feeling with the aluminium frames. I also like the presentation on the shelf. 

Francis Bacon, Triptych 1983, 1984, at Andipa Gallery

I really don’t need to go on about the significance of Bacon’s triptychs. I love how the artist became preoccupied with forms, themes, images and modes of expression in his repetitive paintings. Despite being  a lithograph, I think this series is monumental.

Explore Contemporary Istanbul 2014 on Artsy.

Huma Kabakcı