Winds of Turkey blowing in international art scene

Winds of Turkey blowing in international art scene

MADRID - Anatolia News Agency
Winds of Turkey blowing in international art scene

A work by Selma Gürbüz from Rampa Gallery is being displayed at the ARCO Madrid Fair. The photo below shows Bashir Borlakov’s artwork from Pilot Gallery.

An international contemporary art fair in Spanish capital Madrid, ARCO Madrid, opened on Feb. 13, with Turkey as the guest country of this year’s fair.

The 32nd edition of the fair is hosting 201 art galleries from 27 countries and more than 2,000 artists. As guest country this year, Turkish tourism panels are being hung on the walls of the fair entrance, while classic Turkish style breakfasts of tea, simit, cheese, olive oil, cucumber and yoghurt are being served in two pavilions.

Turkey was featured at ARCO in previous years in a limited number of events, but this time it is being represented with 10 art galleries from Istanbul and four artistic organizations.

Also, two of four awards given by the ARCO Friends Association within the scope of the fair were presented to contemporary Turkish art collectors this year.

The organizer of the fair, Feria de Madrid (IFEMA) President Luis Cortes, ARCO Director Carlos Urroz and Turkish Ambassador to Madrid Ayşe Sinirlioğlu, as well as many other prominent figures attended the award ceremony. The “Elgiz Collection” and a private collecting art company named “Collectorspace” received the award at the ceremony.

Big leap in recent years

Sevda and Can Elgiz, who are displaying the Elgiz Collection at the fair, said the following: “We are proud of this award. We prefer to share art rather than to store it. We prefer to make artists’ works visible to people. We have put efforts into making Turkish art become globalized. We bought our first artworks from ARCO 20 years ago. Many people were surprised to see us there because we are Turks.
Now we are the guest country of ARCO at the right time and we have galleries that produce very successful works like the other participating galleries.”

The Elgiz couple thinks that Turkish art has made a big leap in recent years. “Turkey has never been so visible. We will see Turkish galleries and Turkish artists everywhere from now on. Contemporary art in Turkey is maybe at a high enough level to meet people’s expectations,” they said.

Bilge and Haro Cümbüşyan, who received the award for their private collection Collectorspace, also aim to open private collections to public.

“Opening private collections to the public has been very much discussed recently. Collectorspace is a very small initiative in this sense. We hope that more collectors will be informed about such initiatives and that they will take steps to open their collections to the public,” they said.

Haro Cümbüşyan added that Turkey seemed very attractive both in the field of art and others. “We sense a big interest in Turkey when we are abroad. This is why it is not surprising that Turkey is the guest of ARCO this year. The Turkish art market is very active, and it is a good opportunity for galleries to join international fairs and get experience,” he said.

When asked why only Istanbul galleries joined the fair, he said this was not out of the ordinary. “It is the same across the world. Washington D.C. cannot compete against New York, Liverpool cannot compete against London, or Lyon against Paris,” he said.

ARCO Madrid will run through Feb. 17. The fair is aiming to show how contemporary art is resist against crisis this year, as art has been deeply affected by the ongoing economic crisis in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
In the fair, contemporary art is criticized for becoming “conservative” because of the crisis and galleries are called on to become more “brave.”

There are worries that sales will be affected in the fair because the tax on artworks was increased from 10 percent to 21 percent in Spain because of the economic crisis.