16 December 2020

(Monday 7th December 2020: London, UK and Istanbul, Turkey): Contemporary Istanbul, the leading annual art fair celebrating its 15th anniversary is set to launch its online platform proudly sponsored by Akbank, Virtual Contemporary Istanbul, on the 21st December. It will be live until the 6th January 2021 in lieu of the in-person event, which has been postponed this year due to the pandemic. However, Contemporary Istanbul is thrilled to announce that it will take place in-person in Spring of next year, with VIP previews on the 27th and 28th April and the fair open to the public between the 29th April – 2nd May 2021.

Revolutionising the art fair model with simulated tours and exclusive access to headline galleries and artists, Virtual CI enriches the fair experience and shares local and international creativity with a global audience. Verified by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., Virtual CI has been beta-tested by a pool of selected users including collectors, art enthusiasts and gallerists to guarantee a seamless and tailored experience for any art lover or buyer. The platform will enable visitors, galleries, and artists to interact with each other, creating an intimate opportunity for them to discuss their works with collectors and aficionados in a versatile and professional environment.

The creation of the online platform has been part of Contemporary Istanbul Foundation’s long-term vision and dedication to supporting and fostering the world’s artistic talent, even before the pandemic. With the development and subsequent launch of Virtual CI, the fair is accessible across the world, providing an opportunity to share the very best of the region’s extensive art market and collector base tying into the fair’s broader theme of global communication and connectivity. In future, the platform will evolve to become a hub for all things contemporary art and act as an epicentre of creativity.

Virtual Contemporary Istanbul is free to experience, with VIP passes providing access to added extras. Once registered, your avatar will act as your eyes and ears throughout the fair, guiding you through the exhibition rooms. You will be able to view artworks from headline artists such as Ghanaian-born artist Kojo Marfo, presented by the esteemed London-based JD Malat Gallery and Anthony James, a British multi-media artist living in Los Angeles, who will exhibit under the Opera Gallery, Virtual visitors will also be able to enjoy the Plugin 2020 exhibition, the eighth year of the annual showcase that profiles 18 new media artists whose works span the aesthetic language of new media such as bio-art and AI.

VIP passes are available upon request, and once granted will enable early access to preview the platform from the 19th December, as well as exclusive “Meet & Greet” and “Seller Session” private rooms, allowing guests access to gallery representatives and artists, as well as tours and enlightening conversations between artist and the gallery focusing on their exhibited art works.

Virtual Contemporary Istanbul 2020 invites media to experience the online platform from 21st December – 6th January 2021. For more information, visit and to request for a Virtual Contemporary Istanbul VIP Pass, please contact [email protected] to coordinate.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Dearra Naidoo, The PR Office | e: [email protected] | m: +44 (0) 7788 540 924

About Contemporary Istanbul: Contemporary Istanbul is the leading annual art fair in Turkey, situated at the meeting point of Europe and Asia in one of the great cities of the world. Founded in 2005, Contemporary Istanbul takes place each September and offers a platform for the city’s thriving art scene, growing art market and collector base, as well as an access point to the best contemporary art from the wider region.

Social Media – IG: @contemporaryistanbul | T: @Contemporaryist | FB: @contemporaryistanbul

About Akbank: Akbank is one of the leading banks in Turkey and has been supporting Contemporary Istanbul for 15 years since its inception. Akbank embraces the social development through culture and the arts as a prime responsibility alongside supporting economic growth. Having supported the arts and artists since its foundation, Akbank has contributed significantly to Turkey’s social and economic development thanks to its long-term corporate social responsibility projects. Akbank remains committed to Contemporary Istanbul in its 15th year.