Contemporary Istanbul 2019 Press Release

Contemporary Istanbul 2019 Press Release

Contemporary Istanbul (CI) the leading annual art fair of the region is counting down for its 14th edition. Sponsored by Akbank for the past 13 years, Contemporary Istanbul, will host galleries, collectors, artists, art enthusiasts, academics, critics between September 12-15 September in Istanbul at the Istanbul Congress Center and the Rumeli Hall at the Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Center. The artistic director of Contemporary Istanbul is curator and researcher Anissa Touati.


As Istanbul is gearing up for the coming month of September marked by vibrant days of contemporary art, CI will take a steering position in this period. Contemporary Istanbul’s 14th edition will feature 74 galleries from 23 countries, 510 artists and more than 1400 artworks. At the beginning of 2019, Anissa Touati was assigned as the artistic director of CI, leading the path for the fair to ground its place in the rapidly changing art world and allowing it to distinguish itself in the new age. With the new approaches Anissa Touati have established this year at CI, the fair will keep evolving in the coming years.

Contemporary Istanbul has a strong impact on both Turkey and the region and it will continue gathering momentum by continuously renewing its objectives.  In addition to the inner workings of the fair we are very much committed to the promotion of Istanbul and Turkey. Beginning in September and continuing during the next three years in which there will be significant improvements to the artistic and cultural infrastructure of the city and sees as part of its above-mentioned mission to publicize these positive initiatives worldwide.

This year at CI, curated by Hasan Bulent Kahraman Recent Acquisitions will take place. In this exhibition, works acquired in the last two years by 42 collectors will be exhibited. The Gallery Support Program, launched 2 years ago is also continuing this year. Through the Gallery Support Program, many galleries from all around the world are finding the opportunity to participate at Contemporary Istanbul.  The program was developed in a way to support the galleries in countries such as Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, Portugal, USA, South Africa. In its 7th year, Plugin, curated by Esra Ozkan, will feature new media and digital artworks with the digital arts sponsorship of the Siemens Ev Aletleri. Anissa Touati will curate the Garden of Eden open air sculpture park. This event will take place on the Lutfi Kirdar Terrace. The Artist Residency Programme hosting artist Waseem Ahmed and curator Alexandra Pace, the Art Platforms Section hosting independent curators and art platforms, the Istanbul Connection Programme organized in order to bring Istanbul’s cultural and artistic world with foreing institutions and art world will be the cornerstones of the formation of Contemporary Istanbul.

Furthermore, focus will be on the theme of “Mediterranean Horizons” at CIF dialogues (Contemporary Istanbul Art, Culture and Education Foundation).  We have establishe a collaboration for the 2019 edition with Art-O-Rama which is the first international art fair in Southern France. The presentations to be made at the panels that will be realized within this context with the theme of “Mediterranean Concept” will be managed by the Assistant Director of the Delfina Foundation, Salma Tuqan. Collectors, artists and stakeholders will be invited to the events.


Participating Galleries

AB GALLERY, Seoul; Anna Laudel Contemporary, Istanbul; Art Agency, Sofia; Art On Istanbul,

Istanbul; Baku; BARRO, Buenos Aires; Berman Contemporary,

Johannesburg; Borderline Art Space, Iasi; Bozlu Art Project, Istanbul; C24, New York; C.A.M Galeri, Istanbul; CODE South Way, Marseille; Crèvecoeur, Paris, Marseille; Double V Gallery, Marseille; E.A Shared Space, Tbilisi; Extramentale, Paris; Ferda Art Platform, Istanbul; Galeri 77, Istanbul; Galeri Binyıl, Istanbul; Galeri Diani, Istanbul; Galeri Mcrd, Istanbul; Galeri Miz, Istanbul; Galeri Nev Istanbul, Istanbul; Galeri Siyah Beyaz, Ankara; Galeria Foco, Lisbon; Galeria Joan Gaspar, Barcelona; Galeria Victor Lope Arte Contemporaneo, Barcelona; Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna; Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer, Vienna; Galerie Tore Suessbier, Berlin; Galerist, İstanbul; Georg Karl, Vienna; Gowen Contemporary, Geneva; HIGH ART, Paris; Isabel Croxatto Galeria, Santiago; JD Malat Gallery, London; Khak Gallery, Tehran; LC Queisser, Tbilisi; LOVAAS Projects, Munich; Marina Gisich Gallery, St Petersburg; Mark Hachem, New York, Paris, Beirut; Marlborough Gallery, New York, Barcelona, Madrid, London; Martch Art Project, Istanbul; MERKUR Galeri, Istanbul; Michael Schultz, Berlin; Mobius Gallery, Bucharest; Mohsen Gallery, Tehran; Olcay Art, Istanbul; Öktem & Aykut, Istanbul; P.E.T. Projects, Athens; Perve Galeria, Lisbon; Pg Art Gallery, Istanbul; Pi Artworks, Istanbul, London; Pigment Gallery, Barcelona; Pilevneli, Istanbul; Pilot Galeri, Istanbul; Piramid Sanat, Istanbul; Project Artbeat, Tbilisi; Ramapano, Paris; Red Art Istanbul, Istanbul; Rem Art Space, Istanbul; Sanatorium, Istanbul; Sevil Dolmacı Art Gallery, Istanbul; SPAGHETTO, Athens; Studiocur/art, Paris; Ta(r)dino 6, Baku; The Pill, Istanbul; Blitz, Valletta; THK Gallery, Cape Town; Versus Art Project, Istanbul;Villa del Arte Galleries, Barcelona; X-Ist, Istanbul; Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah; Zilberman Gallery, Istanbul, Berlin



Recent Acquistions

Curator: Hasan Bülent Kahraman


Turkey’s recent history of collecting also bears the dimension of being a cultural history of the recent era. The growth of collections witnessed in the area of visual arts in Turkey in the last twenty years has richness and depth which can-not be compared to any other period in the past. The wealth of these collections originates primarily from the wide scope of the artistic expressions, both thematically as well as contextually. In these collections there are both the works being created in the Turkish Art scene as well as works from all around the world. Furthermore, almost all artistic production techniques are being represented in these collections.


At the exhibition entitled Recent Acquisitions, works that Turkish collectors added to their collections in recent years are being exhibited. Through the selection it is possible to get a hint on tendencies, directions, preferences and discoveries of collectors in Turkey. Conceptually this process is important in so far as it shows the direction of cultural preferences. Furthermore, it is possible to see a type of breakdown of these quests and orientations. However, in steering the selection process, special efforts of curatorship were deployed in order to enable the works to be independent from one another while at the same time to attain a certain degree of integrity for the exhibition. For this reason, the internal logic of the fair was based on things, words, signs: this and the other.


A stunning and impressive exhibition is awaiting art-lovers at Recent Acquisitions. While the success of this exhibition is the success of works constituting the selection and those owning them, the display of these works in a public space is the fulfillment of a very important responsibility. The Contemporary Istanbul team truly believes that this exhibition will break new grounds.


Recent Acquisitions is a highly prestigious exhibition that is realized for the first time in Turkey and where 39 domestic and 2 foreign collectors exhibit their private collections, thereby providing their support for Contemporary Istanbul.


Gallery Support Program


Participation is increasing thanks to the Gallery Support Program


The Gallery Support Program which was launched in 2017 will continue in the 14th edition. While the Gallery Support Program enables for wider participation of galleries from all around the world, it also plays an important role in presenting significant contemporary art works both to domestic and international spectators and in developing the local collectors’ market. While galleries from Holland, Portugal, Romania, France, and USA were admitted to the gallery support program in 2018, the venture grew so as to support now in 2019 galleries in countries such as Russia, China, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, Portugal, USA, South Africa and Ghana. This initiative is taking the interest shown to Contemporary Istanbul to a different level.


Plugin in its 7th year


Curator: Esra Özkan

If experiences can be converted to an aesthetical creation in an intuitive way, art can leave an actual trace in people’s minds by going beyond retinal perception. The exhibition will evaluate all the new formal approaches being produced in the laboratories of artists and that are created with the aim of revealing experiences individually, physical interactions of spectators, impact received from new forms of consciousness being experienced, from where RW. [material] comes from and how it is perceived and how it communicates with those around it during the Plugin process. It does not evaluate a raw material’s becoming a subject within a space or its becoming an object within time or these situations’ changing place depending on the reaction of spectators and the effect had on the retina during this flow but it passes to the intuitive dimension of experience and evaluates its leaving a real trace in the judgement of the human mind.

Cities from the Eyes of Machines

Famous Turkish artist and architect Güvenç Özel, whom came third in the competition called Colony of Mars organised by NASA in 2015, will participate at Contemporary Istanbul with his digital work called “Deep City”, which will be displayed for the first time. Özel’s work has been designed by taking into consideration how the machines that constantly document and control human activities and city form see these cities and will enable the viewer to experience the space between the mind and the body of the machines. “Deep City” can be seen at the Vodafone Red stand during Contemporary Istanbul.


CIF Dialogues – Mediterranean Horizons


Art-O-Rama, which is the first international art fair in Southern France and Contemporary Istanbul are collaborating for the 2019 editions.  Within this context the two fairs will organize a series of lectures with the theme of “Mediterranean Horizons” as part of the 2019 lectures program for the first time. “Mediterranean Horizons” is evaluating the concept of belonging to the Mediterranean extending from the past into the future. Moderator of the lectures will be the Delfina Foundation Director Salma Tuqan. Collectors, artists and stakeholders will be invited to the events. Within this context, while the galleries to be hosted by Contemporary Istanbul will be Galerie Crève‐Coeur, Paris & Marseille; Duble V, Marseille; Art‐O‐Rama will host The Pill, Istanbul and Oktem Aykut, Istanbul.


Garden of Eden

Contemporary Istanbul will be hosting an outdoor sculpture park for the second time this year, “Garden of Eden”. The outdoor sculpture park, which organized by Anissa Touati, will feature works by 9 artists from participating galleries. Artists: Ebru Dösekçi of Turkey, Sinem Tekin, Turkey, Elsa Sahal, France, Mikayel Okanjanyan, Armenia, Guido Casaretto, Italy, Emirhan Eren, Turkey, the Zodiac is, Turkey, Ugo Schiavi, France, Osman Dinc, Turkey


Artist Residency Programme


Contemporary Istanbul will host Pakistani artist Waseem Ahmed and curator Alexandra Pace in the Artist Residency Programme. The creations made within a month by Waseem Ahmed With the support of Garbon ceramic products will exhibitwith Gowen Contemporary- Genevia Waseem Ahmed will produce his work during his residency. Also the curator of the This is Blitz, will be in Istanbul for the first time, one of the Malta’s leading contemporary art platform established by Alexandra Pace.


Istanbul Connection Program
The Istanbul Connection Program introduced major institutions, artists’ studios and private collections of international art to the cultural and artistic world of Istanbul through monthly visits throughout the year. The program will start again in October and will last all year.

Art Platforms Section

Art Platforms Section highlights bold artist-run-spaces, project spaces or independent curators that work outside the institution. In this section, new approaches who develop innovative projects for some in non usual or remote areas will take place. EXTERAMENTALE, Paris; MOTTO,  Berlin; P.E.T PROJECTS, Atina; SPAGHETTO, Atina; STUDIOCUR/ART, Paris; TARDINO 6, Bakü; THIS IS BLITZ, Valeta.

Anissa Touati / Artistic Director

Contemporary Istanbul Artistic Director Anissa Touati, is working between Mexico and France, acting in the capacity of deputy director of the Chalet Society. Touati is known for the contributions she made to Mexican art promoted outside of Mexico. Anissa Touati has worked as curator or co-curator of many international exhibitions to this day. Among them the following stand out: the Mexican section of the Cycles exhibition that was staged within the context of the Rashid Karami International Fair being realized with the collaboration of the BEMA museum and Studiocurart (Tripoli, Lebanon); ¿Cómo te voy a olvidar? ‐ Galerie Perrotin (Paris, France); Le sud bébé at musée J1 (Marseille, France); “Coordenadas” Jesper Just‐Anahuacalli Museum (Mexico); Made by 4 hands ‐ OMR Gallery (Mexico); “Romance Atomico” Matias Duville ‐ Galeria Barro (Buenos Aires) and “A Tall Action is not a height at the Chimney” (New York, USA).

Esra Özkan / Plugin Curator

Esra Ozkan who is working as manager and curator of ‘bang. Art Innovation Prix by ArtBizTech’, has taken active roles in different units of galleries and museums in the art sector since 2011 and she has been the curator and director in many domestic and international exhibitions. While she currently focuses on works that bring technology, art and science together in the area of digital arts, she basically establishes bonds between technology, science and art on philosophical grounds.

Akbank, has been supporting Contemporary Istanbul, which has contributed greatly to the development of contemporary art in our country, for 14 years.


Akbank has been carrying out many important projects in the field of arts and culture for many years. Akbank has been promoting projects that adds value to society and prioritizes developments, change and innovation in aall fields. With these projects, Akbank aims to preserve the local and universal heritage and transfer it to future generation, for it to reach thousands of art lovers. Contemporary Istanbul, which introduces contemporary art to broad masses and carries at the top of the culture and art agenda, with the main sponsorship Akbank it became a contemporary art event on a global level. Akbank will continue to support Contemporary Istanbul which is closely followed by contemporary art cirlces.