The artists of the 15th Istanbul Biennial

The artists of the 15th Istanbul Biennial

Last week on Friday, I completed my Istanbul Biennial tour organized this year under the theme “A Good Neighbor” by visiting the Pera Museum in the Beyoğlu district, after my visit to the Istanbul Modern Museum in Karaköy.

We must be accustomed to seeing the books hanging from the ceiling at the entrance of the Istanbul Modern.

This time, we can see a model hung opposite another artist’s “narrow workspace.” South Korean Young-Jun Tak has brought a dummy here from his 24-square-meter house. It is quite impressive.

A symbol of loneliness and human tragedy, the work “Crying Boy” bears the signature of artist Adel Abdessemed.

Artist Volkan Aslan’s video installation entitled “Home Sweet Home,” proves the concept of the neighborhood as a relief to loneliness with its houses floating on water.

Alper Aydın strikingly reveals the damage we do to nature in an excavator bucket on the basis of the nature/human relationship.

Latifa Echakhch presents the situation of citizens from different countries in today’s economic and social turbulence.

One of the most common artwork we have seen on social media and news regarding the biennial is Candeğer Furtun’s “Untitled” work consisting of ceramic men’s legs. The work draws attention by the hand that touches only one leg, creating a very intense image.

Iranian artist Mirak Cemal left his country after the revolution in Iran and had to travel to many countries with his family. His situation and the things he witnessed are embodied in his work, which reveals this painful process. It was one of the most striking pieces at the biennial.

Fred Wilson has directed his work towards black people. However, it is also possible to make out a global understanding of his art. Aside from the work he created with a Venetian-Ottoman synthesis, his ceramic work proves this global point of view.

Since Mahmoud Obaidi had to go to many cities in his life, he has named his work “Do not make love, make war.”

The literature side of the biennial consists of stories written on the concept of neighborhood. The book embodies a very beautiful, thematic anthology.

The stories written by people from various countries emphasize that neighborhood is not only closeness but a sanctuary. In a day when different beliefs and political choices make people enemies with one another, they emphasize the lifesaving nature of neighborhood.

To those who visit or will visit the biennial, I advise them to be sure to read the short stories in the Stories (Hikâyeler) book.

You can better understand the artwork that has been created and the conditions during those periods by reading these short stories. They can offer you a helping hand in your most difficult times, can hide you from your enemies and open up their home to you.

The stories on neighborhood, although written in a general concept, present us with the customs and traditions of different countries in a colorful way.

Visit the biennial and do not forget to buy the two-volume biennial books.

Opinion, Doğan Hızlan, Biennial