Contemporary Istanbul Highlights

The latest publication about the artworld

Contemporary Istanbul Highlights

This year the fair features 75 galleries and initiatives from 22 countries. A strong line-up of galleries from Europe and the Middle East is joined by leading galleries from South America, Africa, East Asia and the USA.

Fahrelnissa Zeid Trained in both Paris and Istanbul, Fahrelnissa Zeid was an important figure in the Turkish avant-garde d Group in the early 1940s and the École de Paris (School of Paris) in the 1950s.
Her vibrant abstract paintings are a synthesis of Islamic, Byzantine, Arab and Persian influences fused with European approaches to abstraction. Known for her large-scale abstract paintings with kaleidoscopic patterns and lyrical compositions, as well as her drawings, lithographs, and sculptures, Zeid's visual language is varied and rich.

Ferit İşcanBorn in Trieste, Italy, Ferit İşcan gained his art education in France. There, he was captivated by abstract art and worked on still life and atelier scenes. The artist began research focused on the simultaneous arrangement of a myriad of colourful keys in the 1960s. A radical turning point happened in 1970, the year from which Ferit tackled geometric figures and perspectives. Later, he will gradually return to landscapes, still life, and studio scenes, where the light dominates.

SarkisSarkis Zabunyan, a French artist of Armenian origin, was born in Istanbul and studied painting and interior architecture before moving to France. Since 1964 he has been living and working in Paris. Focusing on the concepts of memory and remembrance, time, issues of presence and absence, place and identity, as well as permanence and transience, Sarkis considers the visual world as composed of conceptual layers.
In 1967, the artist was a laureate of the Biennale of Paris Painting Prize. The artist is most famous for his sensory and enigmatic installations that combine light, sounds and various materials.

Inci Eviner
Inci Eviner's work ranges from drawings and video to performative and collaborative practices, Eviner's large body of work comprises multi-layered pieces that originate from drawings. Trained as a painter at the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts, Eviner has always used drawing as a point of departure, formally and conceptually.

Eviner’s work explores the politics and potentiality of desire, space and subjectivity. As an artist mindful of the traumas that we experience in our everyday lives, she demands new approaches to seeing and listening. In the work ‘'Skinless”, the objects simultaneously symbolize the stance of an organization, a family, or authority as well as the limitations imposed on individuals.

Azade Köker
Having studied ceramics and industrial design in both Istanbul and Berlin, Azade Köker uses different forms of expression to explore identity, belonging, city, representation, nature, and women, while adding a diversity of materials to her artistic career that began with ceramics.

Starting from the new millennium, she produced works related to the relationship and balance between the body and society. Her most recent works, focused on the city and environment, highlight nature’s resistance to humans. She creates images of nature inhabited by traces of human intervention, which she then deconstructs by a repeating pattern on the surface.

Sarp Kerem Yavuz
Born in Paris and raised in Istanbul, Sarp Kerem Yavuz is a visual artist working primarily with photography, light projection, and video. His works explore various aspects of gender, politics, religion, and violence. He is the recipient of several international awards. In 2013, he became the youngest artist to exhibit and be included in the permanent collection of the Istanbul Modern Museum.

The works of Yavuz reclaim Orientalist imagery and bring the visual legacy of the Middle East into the present. Through photography, light projection, neon sculpture and digital drawing, he creates visually provocative works of art in pursuit of peaceful coexistence.

Nevin Aladag
Nevin Aladag’s multidisciplinary works explore the social and political borders of urban spaces and cultures, displaying a special focus on the role of sound in constructing an environment, and frontiers, often in connection with the constructions of identity.

Born in Turkey, Aladag, now based in Berlin, moved to Stuttgart as a child, which attuned her to the pluralism of experiences that dictate space and identities. Aladag now explores culture, transformation, and belonging by uniting distinct elements with disparate heritages into single works.

Stephan BalkenholKnown for his wooden sculptures, German artist Stephan Balkenhol carves his figures directly from tree trunks, using a mallet and a chisel, without trying to erase the traces left by his tools. This technique gives a sense of individuality to each artwork, further reinforced by the colours chosen to structure and animate the figures.
The artist’s anonymous figures are painted in simple colour combinations that appear timeless yet familiar, both living and inanimate. They retain the grooves, cracks, chips and fissures that represent the sculpting process, demonstrating the artist’s raw and spontaneous treatment of the material.
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