Visual Arts

Istanbul has once more become a vital world city which plays a role in the international art world through international fairs, exhibitions and art activities. This is mostly a result of investments in the contemporary art infrastructure that the richest families in Turkey such as Eczacıbaşı, Koç and Sabancı made in the last 20 years. The emergence of institutions such as Istanbul Modern, Santral Istanbul, IKSV(Istanbul Foundation for Culture&Art), Akbank Sanat, Yapı Kredi Kültür, Garanti Platform and Pera Museum, has contributed to the rapid development of the contemporary art scene. Due to Istanbul’s position in 2010 as European Culture Capital, the number of activities increased enormously. Many workshops and exhibitions in which Turkish and foreign artists worked together were held in the field of visual arts. Art production and activities spread over a wider area and independent artist’s initiatives increase in number every passing day. Foreign artists and art initiatives started new collaborations. Artist collectives such as Apartment project, 5533 and Pist/// cause new connections and set up collaborations in contemporary art. Thanks to exhibitions and international projects that are carried out, an increasing number of artists in Turkey can go abroad and broaden their horizons. Contemporary art made in Today’s Turkey grows out of political, religious and social questions and has a gradually transforming influence on society through its questioning, its examination of the facts and its attitude towards alternative viewpoints held by members of society. Contemporary Art also tries to open up and contribute to wider discussions by trying to look back at history and the ideologically fraught construction of Turkish identity as well. Turkish contemporary art is increasingly recognized internationally thanks to its dynamism and its openness to cooperation. The Istanbul Biennale and institutions such as Platform Garanti are well known in the Netherlands and an increasing number of artists from the Netherlands visited Istanbul in the last few years. In this chapter, apart from Istanbul, there is also attention for the art scenes of some other dynamic cities in Turkey, which are still mostly overlooked by foreign art professionals who visit Turkey. We hope that 2012 will entice some artists to look beyond the trodden paths and visit cities outside Istanbul in their search for new experiences and collaborations.