The new arts season in Istanbul

The new arts season in Istanbul

I have decided to slowly throw away newspapers and articles I have kept for years. Of course, it hasn’t been easy.

But while throwing away the newspapers, I glanced over one article. It was an interview with one of the legendary culture ministers of France, Jack Lang.

Especially at times of crises, more investments should be made in culture, arts, education and research,” Lang, who is still the president of the Arab World Institute in Paris, had said in an interview with Le Monde four years ago.

“Every single euro that you invest in culture will bring joy and human development in return,” he said.

In these troubling times we currently live in, affecting almost all segments of the society, Istanbul has swiftly entered the new arts season, proving Lang’s statement in a way.

Along with the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial and the Istanbul Theater Festival, both organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), and Contemporary Istanbul, there are several other new exhibitions across Istanbul.

I opened the new season last week by visiting exhibitions that opened in two of the most popular venues in Istanbul.

Arevyan’s ‘As Is’ exhibition

The first of the exhibitions is Ani Çelik Arevyan’s solo exhibition “As Is” at the Galata Greek School, to which we were introduced thanks to İKSV.

Arevyan matched her 30-year-old archive of 95,000 photographs, which are unrelated and unharmonious to each other, with the images and emotions they evoke for her.

Everyone can make their personal interpretations about these timeless and placeless match-up journeys of the photographs.

Therefore, the “As Is” exhibition is also about an internal journey.

Within walking distance from the Galata Greek School, the “Post-Impressionism in the Collection of Arkas” exhibition at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Tophane-i Amire Cultural Center takes us a century back.

“The exhibition here is a miracle that happened in the Republic of Turkey,” said the rector of the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Yalçın Karayağız, who attended the opening of the exhibition with Lucien Arkas.

Karayağız says the works exhibited are in interaction with each other, adding that the artists of the works there have mentored Turkish artists.

In the Five-Dome Hall of Tophane-i Amire, watching the Renoir painting on which the sun beaming through the holes in the dome are reflected is much more an impressive experience than seeing his same painting in any other museum of Europe.

We may again come back to the 21st century when we visit the Perili Köşk (“Haunted Mansion” in Turkish) by the sea.

Borusan Contemporary at Perili Köşk organizes the exhibition “Fluid Bodies,” prepared by Universal Everything, which is a global collective of artists, designers, musicians, and software developers.

The early period works of the collective, which also includes names like Radiohead, Apple, Zaha Hadid Architectures and Samsung, are on the second floor of the Perili Köşk.

There is also a second exhibition.

The Üvercinka Exhibition reinterprets the works of Borusan Modern Arts Collection in the style of Cemal Süreya.

The exhibitions which began in the new art season of Istanbul are of course not limited to the ones I listed.

As Lang said, for your joy, discover the exhibitions in Istanbul. Do not forget to see the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, which will begin on Sept. 22.

Besides these exhibitions, the free-admission events the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial will be organizing on the streets of Istanbul is the topic of another article.

Gila Benmayor, Mimar Sinan University,