ci dialogues 2016

An art fair means much more than being a place for the promotion and sale of artworks. Today, it functions as international platform for art’s communication, mediation, and education. That is why Contemporary Istanbul, the leading art fair and major annual art event in Turkey, has been organizing the CI Dialogues for more than ten years.

For three days, this extensive international panel brings together more than fifty art professionals, artists and collectors in order to review the state of contemporary art, its scene as well as the current characteristics of its economics and markets. The program consists of round table talks with various conceptual frameworks about contemporary art, in addition to the fair’s special sections CI Design, and Plugin which will critically reflect on today’s art and its context to propel its understanding, research and mediation.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marcus Graf
Contemporay Istanbul Program Director

2016 Programme

Gallery Talk: The needs and wants of the art market

Within contemporary art’s various contexts, its market is of great importance for the production, reception and mediation of art. Today, it is highly complex, as the trends and tendencies are determined by a number of institutions and different actors. Here, the modern art gallery has played a fundamental role in the world of art for more than 150 years. The first panel of the CI Dialogues reviews the character of today’s art market and the current meaning of commercial galleries.

Yeşim Turanlı (Gallery Owner, Pi Artworks) 
Gregor Hose (Director, Gallery König) 
Stephanie Schleiffer (Head of Sales at Simon Lee Gallery, London)

Sureyya Wille (Gallery Partnerships Manager, Head of Europe, Africa & the Middle East - Artsy)

Collectible Design Today

The panel Collectible Design Today - about current theories and practices of Collectible Design will raise questions like What is Collectible Design? How has Collectible Design developed over the years? Who are the innovators? How does Collectible Design differentiate itself from Product Design? These fundamental questions for the understanding of collectible design will be raised and discussed by leading designers, experts and design gallery owners. Ultimately, the panel, developed in cooperation with CI Design’s curator Susan McMurrain, aims to outline the meaning of Collectible Design in comparison to Production Design and Fine Arts.   

Tamer Nakışcı (Nude, Designer) 
Pierregiorgio Robino (Functional Artist Maker, Studio Nucleo)
Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte (Founder and Art Director, Carwan Gallery Beirut)

Susan McMurrain (Director, CI Design)

The Power of Art Fairs

The Power of Art Fairs The round table discussion about the local and regional impact of Art Fairs in Vienna, Bucharest and Istanbul will investigate the current importance of art fairs. Today, they have local, regional and global influences on the communication, mediation, and sale of contemporary art. As an important meeting point for artists, galleries, and collectors, they possess a multidimensional character with wide-ranging impacts. This panel focuses on the art fairs in Dubai, Bucharest and Istanbul in order to analyze their interconnection with local, regional and global art scenes. 

Ali Güreli (Chairman, Contemporary Istanbul) 
Renger Van den Huevel (Managing Director, Vienna Contemporary)
Ioana Ciocan (Director Art Safari Bucharest)

Hasan Bülent Kahraman (Vice Rector at Kadir Has University, CI Executive Committee Member)

Galata Business Angels: Art, Entrepreneurship and Angel Investing

As the world is getting digitalised rapidly, creative industry is also getting its share.. We are living in a screen age so it is not a surprise that new media art is rising. The form of artworks are changing, keeping pace with digitalisation. As being Istanbul's first angel investor network, Galata Business Angels will be hosting a panel on art, entrepreneurship and angel investing. Similarities and differences between investing on startups within creative industries and other industries will be discussed. 

Sinan Zabunoğlu (Founding Partner,
Güliz Özbek (Founder,
Ahu Serter (Chairman of the Board Farplas, GBA Member, Angel Investor)
Emre Kurttepeli (Mynet Founder & CEO, GBA President/Angel Investor)

Ata Uzunhasan (Managing Director, Galata Business Angels)

The Impossibility of Writing

The session about the difficulties of art criticism, art journalism, and art writing today will review the situation of art writers. How can we write about contemporary art today? How is it possible to evaluate and criticize it when standards and methods cannot be objective or absolute? Art criticism has fallen into a crisis, as the independence of art critics, and the validity of art criticism is under attack. So, this session reviews possible strategies for art writing and art criticism to follow as well as grasp the pluralist and heterogeneous state of contemporary art.

Evrim Altuğ (Chief Culture and Arts Journalist and Art Critic, Cumhuriyet Daily Newspaper, Member of AICA Turkey) 
Marcus Graf (Program Director, Contemporary Istanbul, Art Writer, Curator) 
Seda Yörüker (Art Historian, Art Writer, Editor, Genç Sanat Magazine)

Nazlı Pektaş (Art Historian, Art Critic, Member of AICA Turkey)

Collectors' Talk: What makes a collection great?

The session will discuss the state of collecting contemporary art and what makes a collection great. Since the second half of the 20th century, collecting contemporary art has become a global phenomenon and the collector has become an important figure in the art world. As collecting art is not a matter of quantities but qualities, there are differences between strong and weak collections. This session will investigate contemporary strategies of collecting contemporary art by exposing methods and strategies of how to create a great collection. 

Tansa Mermerci Ekşioğlu (Collector)
Ferit Meriçten (Chairman, FERKO)
Leyla Pekin (Member of SAHA)

Claude Piening (Head of 19th Century European Paintings, Sotheby’s)

Art and its Economics at HT Bloomberg

This panel, which is organized in collaboration with Bloomberg HT, analyzes the current state of the art economy as well as actual tendencies within the art market by bringing together experts from various fields of contemporary art. 
Nicholas Campbell (Managing Director, Narcissus Arts)
Ali Güreli (Yönetim Kurulu Başkanı, Comteporary İstanbul)Ferit Meriçten (Yönetim Kurulu Başkanı, FERKO)

Arzu Maliki (Program Anchor, Bloomberg HT)

Crème de la Crème

This panel reviews the formal and conceptual visions of CI’s new initiative, Collectors’ Stories. Collectors’ Stories is Contemporary Istanbul’s new project for reflecting the state of modern and contemporary art collections in Turkey. By presenting 120 works from 60 Turkish collectors in a special section within the fairgrounds, the exhibition presents itself as a platform for the discussion of collecting art and as an inspiration for other collectors. This panel discusses the motivation, vision, and mission of this innovative project by bringing together the various experts involved. 

Mehmet Ali Bakanay (Collector) 
Duygu Hoşgör (Art Consultant, Demsa)
Emre Dökmeci (Collector)
Marc-Olivier Wahler (Artistic Advisor, Collectors' Stories Curator Contemporary Istanbul)

Marcus Graf (Program Director, Collectors' Stories General Coordinator, Contemporary Istanbul)

The Curator Meets the Artist: Hasan Bülent Kahraman & Murat Germen

Prof. Dr. Hasan Bülent Kahraman, the curator of the exhibition "Yeniden İnşalar" will make an interview with Murat Germen on the exhibition, his works and his last book published by Skira publishing house.

Hasan Bülent Kahraman (Curator, Vice Rector at Kadir Has University, Executive Committee Member of Contemporary Istanbul
Murat Germen (Artist, Academician, Sabancı University)

What’s up, what’s hot and what’s not?

What’s up, what’s hot and what’s not? This panel critically analyses thecurrent situation of galleries, artists, and writers in Istanbul. The art scene in Istanbul is as complex as the city it belongs to. A number of various experts from different fields, institutions and organizations give shape to the environment we live and work in. This round table discussion critically discusses the given state of our local art scene in the face of various challenges and crises, as well as chances and possibilities.


Selin Söl (Director, Daire Gallery) 
Fırat Arapoğlu (Lecturer, Istanbul Kemerburgaz University)
Ferhat Özgür (Artsit, Academician, Yeditepe University)


Ali Şimşek (Art Critic, Sanatonline Web Magazine)

Istanbul Design Biennial (IKSV)

This panel reviews various concepts related to design events which serve as content building platforms in many different ways. Sector related events such as Biennials create an enormous potential for content generation. Not only on an intellectual and practical level, they also contribute to business dynamics while introducing new approaches in design.

Angelo Rui (Curator BIO – Design Biennial of Ljubljana)
Maja Vardjan (Curator BIO – Design Biennial of Ljubljana)
Lilli Hollein (Co-founder and Director, Vienna Design Week)

Deniz Ova (Director, Istanbul Design Biennial)

New Media – New Scene!

This panel of the 2016 CI Dialogues is entitled New Media, New Scene and reviews the current situationNew Media’s Collection, Distribution, Exhibition and Mediation. This panel analyses the various contexts and environments in which media artists work. Here, especially, the situation of galleries, art institutions and the market for media art will be discussed. 

Erdal İnci (Artist)
Bager Akbay (Artist, Educator)
Ozan Türkkan (New Media Artist) 


Assoc. Prof. Ebru Yetişkin (Istanbul Technical University)

The 1980’s, Ankara and an Era for Galleries

Turkey’s political, social and cultural history came to a turning point in the 1980’s. New galleries opened up in Ankara in a relatively democratic environment after the military coup. These galleries created a new understanding and solid foundation for the art of the day in the city. Even though some closed down in time the remaining galleries, which have solidified into pivotal cultural institutions today, have contributed to the development of contemporary visual art in Ankara and Turkey playing a very significant role. this condition was fostered with the new educational systems applied in the universities in Ankara as well. The Panel will discuss the 1980’s and how this time period contributed to the growing artistic and financial environment of galleries, alongside their setbacks and opportunities. 

The panel is organized in honor and memory of Faruk Sade, the Founder of Gallery Siyah Beyaz and dedicated to the ever inspiring work of him remembering his tremendous contribution to the Turkish contemporary art at all levels. 


Nuran Terzioğlu (Founder, Gallery Apel)
Haldun Dostoğlu (Founder, Director, Gallery Nev Istanbul)
Hasan Bülent Kahraman (Vice Rector at Kadir Has University, Executive Committee Member of Contemporary Istanbul)

Evrim Altuğ (Chief Culture and Arts Journalist and Art Critic, Cumhuriyet Daily Newspaper, Member of AICA Turkey)