ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul’s one and only contemporary art fair, Contemporary Istanbul, drew enthusiastic crowds to the Lütfi Kırdar Exhibition Center this year. The fair drew 68,000 people over four days – a satisfying number for the participating galleries
The 7th edition of the fair featured around 100 galleries, 600 artists, and 3,000 works of art, while also hosting events as part of the CI Dialogues Conference Series.
It was possible to hear things like “Now let’s go and see some Andy Warhol, before some Picasso,” from visitors to Contemporary Istanbul this year. World renowned galleries – such as the Marlborough Gallery, Haunch of Venison, Mam- Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art, Cordeiros Galeria, Opera Gallery and Micheal Galerie Schultz - brought artists such as Warhol, Bottero, Picasso, Andreas Gursky, Banksy, Damien Hirst, Roy Lichtenstein, Slinkachu and Keith Haring to Istanbul for the fair. Art lovers, audiences, curators and artists were thus brought together at the four day art extravaganza.
Being at the fair and seeing the works has become something of an annual trend in Istanbul, with many more visitors coming to Contemporary Istanbul year on year.
The 7th edition of the fair featured around 100 galleries, 600 artists, and 3,000 works of art, while also hosting events as part of the CI Dialogues Conference Series. The “New Horizons” section of the series explores contemporary artistic expression in the region’s surrounding countries, with the focus this year on Central and Eastern Europe.
In honor of 400 years of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands, Contemporary Istanbul also hosted a special selection of Dutch galleries, with an important number of Dutch artists and collectors participating.
Both Turkish and foreign galleries were satisfied with the interest shown by the audiences, but they did admit that sales were not as high as they had hoped. Sales were around 50 percent, according to most Turkish galleries, while international galleries’ total sales by the end of the fair stood at around 66 percent.
Eva Coster, from Amsterdam’s Grimm Gallery, said her sales were not high, “but we got to know many Turkish collectors and were able to discover the Turkish art market. This was our first year.”
Carl Johns, gallery manager of C24, which was showing Charles Lutz, said they had experienced a good fair both in terms of sales and in terms of the interest of the crowd and collectors.Works at the fair
One of the most attention-drawing galleries was Empire Project, whose young artists Yuşa Yalçıntaş and Mehmet Kösemen’s works were among those attracting the most note from fairgoers.
The $2 million Andy Warhol painting from Portugal’s Cordeiros Gallery, Bottero’s $700,000 exhibition at Marlborough Gallery, and Opera Gallery’s 650,000 euro Yan Pei Ming painting were among the most valuable works brought along by the foreign galleries. By the end of the second day, 32 percent of the works had been sold, while Andreas Gursky’s “Bangkok No.4” raised eyebrows when it was sold for 400,000 euros.
One of the most interesting works at the fair belonged to Burak Delier. Delier is known for his criticism of the system in his works. His work, “Akbank’s red, Garanti’s Green, Yapıkredi’s Blue,” depicts part of this system, criticizing it or trying to make obvious the rules of the system we are living in. The work consists of three different dimensioned canvases painted in red, blue and green, and refers to the fact that it has become impossible to think of a contemporary art scene without the financial system.
Devrim Erbil, Burhan Doğançay, Bedri Baykam, Mehmet Güleryüz, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Kutluğ Ataman, Yaşam Şaşmazer, Murat Germen, Tuğberk Selçuk, Murat Akagündüz, Halil Akdeniz, İnci Eviner, Şükran Moral and Haluk Akakçe were also among the popular artists of the fair.
Some galleries complained that most of the visitors had come to the fair just to see the works, “visiting the fair is if it was a museum.” This was a difficult proposition, as the great interest shown by visitors made the fair’s crowded exhibiting areas difficult to see as a museum.
The total value of the works in the fair was estimated to be $120,000 million.
Contemporary Istanbul President Ali Güreli said in the IC magazine that they had observed that the galleries had made very good sales, adding that some galleries had even sold all of their works and had started hanging new ones.
Comments on sales varied from gallery to gallery. Unlike last year, both Turkish and foreign galleries sold works this year, with the huge gap between Turkish and foreign galleries having shrunk significantly.
Next year, the Contemporary Istanbul team is planning to hold two extra fairs alongside the main fair.
One of these will be on “Photography and New Media,” while the other will be on “Young talents and artists.”