Places / Turkey

Karaköy – In The Heart Of Istanbul’s Contemporary Art Scene

A few days ago, I was in Karaköy, one of the heartlands of Istanbul’s contemporary art scene. This district not only harbors two of the most important institutions of contemporary art in Turkey – SALT Galata in Bankalar Caddesi and İstanbul Modern Museum in Tophane – but also the best galleries, hippest cafés, and industrious artist studios…

Abbas Akhavan (left) and Aslı Seven (right)

Abbas Akhavan (left) and Aslı Seven (right)

My day began at Unter, one of the new locations in the neighborhood. Karabatak and Unter are two of the cafés that artists and writers currently like the most. After finishing my coffee, I went to Galeri Manâ. There is the fourth exhibition of an exhibition series curated by Abaseh Mirvali – a real cosmopolitan: American of Iranian heritage based not only in Istanbul but also in Mexico City and Berlin. She is CEO of Biennial of the Americas, which takes place in Denver this year.

Exhibition view Abbas Akhavan2

Galeri Manâ

In the gallery I ran across Iranian artist Abbas Akhavan, whose work is shown in the exhibition, and artist liaison Aslı Seven. Aslı told me that the fabric Abbas placed on the gallery door and windows goes under the ground through cuts in the floor, as if there is a floor downstairs, which actually doesn’t exist. Thanks to its perfect lighting design, the reflection of the ceiling in the pool on the ground floor looks like there is another floor downstairs. Elements of nature and pastoral landscapes are brought into the gallery site. Fabrics placed like bed sheets hung to dry in old school Istanbul style question the relationship between concepts such as private and public space, inside and outside, domestic and wild.

After chatting with Aslı, who just returned from Art Dubai, and listening to the news about the fair and the preparations for the Sarkis exhibition, which Gallery Manâ will open after Abbas Akhavan, my next stop was Elipsis Gallery, Istanbul’s one and only photography gallery, to see Metehan Özcan’s exhibition “Illustrated Information”. After chatting with gallerist Sinem Yörük and artist Metehan Özcan, I visited the exhibition and we talked with Metehan about his works. “Illustrated Information” is about the dialogue between images that the artist had shot or found. In the exhibition that brings three different series together, we frequently see modernist space and the modernist way of life that is based upon it. Metehan depicts Turkey’s adventure with modernization by engaging totally different sources in dialogue.

For more information about the galleries and exhibitions mentioned in this post use following links:

Abbas Akhavan
Born 1977 in Tehran, Iran
Lives and works in Toronto, Canada
2006 Master of Fine Arts University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Metehan Özcan
Born 1975 in Istanbul, Turkey
Lives in Izmir, Turkey
Studied interior design and visual communication design

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