Contemporary Istanbul, the 10th edition of the region’s leading art fair and its series of innovative programming, takes place from 12–15 November 2015 at the Istanbul Congress Centre (ICC) and Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre (ICEC). Today Contemporary Istanbul kicks off the fair with its invitation-only preview, allowing guests to enjoy a first glimpse of the exhibitions and projects.

For its landmark 10th anniversary, Contemporary Istanbul brings together more than 700 artworks and 102 leading and emerging galleries from 28 cities across 24 countries, including 23 galleries that are taking part for the first time. Participating galleries were selected by CI’s Artistic Advisor Marc-Olivier Wahler, with selection committee members Kerimcan Güleryüz , Nathalie Mamane-Cohen and Freda Rozenbaum-Uziyel.

“This year, we have guests from Tehran, continuing our mission of providing visibility for emerging talent,” notes Contemporary Istanbul’s Chairman Ali Güreli. “I am proud to say that Contemporary Istanbul has become an art fair that earns the respect of art enthusiasts around the globe, because it recognizes the value of embracing the productive chaos of this region.”

This year features the third iteration of CI Plugin, the new media section of the fair dedicated to the concept of digital art and design, while Contemporary Tehran explores contemporary art in Tehran. Along with these exciting projects is the addition of Australia China Art Foundation, an initiative curated by the Australia China Art Foundation, showcasing Chinese artists, and CI Solo Shows, where five galleries select an outstanding artist to highlight.

image Galeri Zilberman / Walid Siti, The Tower, Wood on MDF, 43 x 32 x 32 cm, 2015 / Courtesy of Contemporary Istanbul


Each year CI Focus showcases a cutting-edge selection of contemporary art from a specific geographic region or a relevant subject. This year, the focus is on several exceptional galleries from Tehran, featuring works by emerging and established artists such as Ali Akbar Sadeghi (Shirin Gallery); Morehshin Allahyari (Lajevardi Foundation); Nasser Bakhshi (Aaran Art Gallery); Houman Mortazavi (Dastan’s Basement) and Babak Roshaninejad (Assar Art Gallery).

image Shirin Gallery / Ali Akbar Sadeghi, Animal Hunt From the Unwritten Series, Ink, Acrylic, Gold & Silver Leaf on Canvas, 126 x 237 cm, 2010 / Courtesy of Contemporary Istanbul

As part of this year’s Focus program, 12 works from The Mobarqa Collection, owned by Nadeer Mobarqa and his wife, are on display. This exceptional collection of over 600 works of Iranian modern and contemporary art includes drawings, installations, paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture and video art.

image The Mobarqa Collection / Mansour Ghandriz, Untitled, Oil on Canvas, 120 x 90 cm, 1962 / Courtesy of Contemporary Istanbul


Presented at the ICEC, Plugin features a selection of galleries, architecture and design studios and new media related initiatives that respond to the curatorial theme of X-CHANGE, exploring emerging practices of production and interaction in contemporary media cultures. Curated by Dr. Ebru Yetiskin, X-CHANGE presents an array of genres including sound and light installations, kinetic sculptures, interactive and generative design, hologram installations and robotic designs. Independent artists featured are Bager Akbay, Can Büyükberber, Deniz Derbent, Umut Gonca, Erdal İnci, Nihat Karataşlı, Ufuk Barış Mutlu, NOHLab, Pi-Slices, Onur Sönmez, Ayşe Gül Süter and Büşra Tunç. Exhibitors include Borusan Contemporary, DAM Gallery, Galeri Zilberman, Lajevardi Foundation, LICHT FELD Gallery, Pearl Lam Galleries and the Australia China Art Foundation.

image Assar Art Gallery / Mohammad-Hossein Emad, Untitled from the Lit Shadow Series, Cartonplast Sheet, Aluminium, Wood & Light, 95 x 187 x 155 cm, 2013 / Courtesy of Contemporary Istanbul

image Marlborough Gallery / Ahmet Güneştekin, Encounter Konstantiniyye Series 3, Mixed Media, 150 x 150 x 25 cm, 2015 / Courtesy of Contemporary Istanbul


Presented at the Lajevardi Foundation are the digital fabrications of new media artist Morehshin Allahyari. Mohammad-Hossein Emad ’s sculptures are on view at Assar Art Gallery, the work of Nasser Bakhshi is exhibited at Aaran Art Gallery and large-scale paintings by Ardeshir Mohassess can be seen at Dastan’s Basement. In addition to exhibits, Plugin explores the theme of X-CHANGE with a daily series of walks, talks, sessions and workshops. Plugin Talks include Art of Game / Game of Art (November 13), Between Digital Art and Commerce (November 14) and To Make Science, Art and Technology (November 15). All Talks are in Turkish with no simultaneous translation.

image Kuad Gallery / Serhat Kiraz, Untitled, Acrylic on Canvas, 70 x 100 cm (Each), 2011-2015 / Courtesy of Contemporary Istanbul


This year, Contemporary Istanbul is hosting a new program called Solo Shows, where five galleries curate presentations of one of their represented artists: Marco Di Giovanni (Il Chiostro Arte Contemporanea), Adam Jastrzebski (PROPAGANDA), Ihsan Oturmak (Karavil Contemporary), Bogdan (Nasui Collection & Gallery) and Zio (Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea).

image Pi Artworks / Susan Hefuna, Red Building, Watercolor on Tracing Paper, 30,5 x 23 cm (Framed), 2012 / Courtesy of Contemporary Istanbul


In a project coordinated by the Australia China Art Foundation (ACAF), CI is bringing a diverse and sometimes challenging group of art works and experiences to Istanbul, which will be exhibited in private and public spaces around the city. Building Bridges includes artists Ling Jian , Shao Yinong and Mu Chen (ACAF), aaajiao (Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai), Tao Hui (Aike DellArco, Shanghai), Yang Xin and Zheng Jiang (Space Station, Beijing). The initiative also features Parade, a group show curated by art critic Aimee Lin, who suggests the metaphor of “parade” represents the national collective imagination of China’s political and social modernity. In the future, collaboration will extend to Australian artists and will also bring artists from Turkey and the Middle East to China and Australia.

image Kuad Gallery / Çağrı Saray, 3 Asylum_no1: French National Library, Drawing (Lightbox), 85 x 100 x 10 cm, 2015 / Courtesy of Contemporary Istanbul


Under the curation of Marc-Olivier Wahler, Swiss artistic duo Lang/Baumann (Galerie Loevenbruck) is exhibiting its outdoor installation Comfort #4 and König Galerie is showing Danish artist Jeppe Hein ’s work from his Geometric Mirrors series. Other internationally renowned artists such as Franz Ackermann, Etel Adnan, Nevin Aladag, Stephan Balkenhol, Louise Bourgeois, Eduardo Chillida, Tony Cragg, Robert Devriendt, Noël Dolla, Mounir Fatmi, Jeppe Hein, Rebecca Horn, Annette Kelm, Camille Henrot, Alicja Kwade, David LaChapelle, Lang/Baumann, Markus Lüpertz, Marwan, Carlos Motta, David Nash, Jaume Plensa, A. R. Penck, Pablo Picasso, JR, Michael Sailstorfer, Kiki Smith, Tatiana Trouvé, Tunga, Claude Viallat, Jorinde Voigt, Tom Wesselmann and Nil Yalter are also exhibiting at Contemporary Istanbul.

image Krampf Gallery / Emir Uras, PRIOR03, C-Print, 150 x 75 cm, 2015 / Courtesy of Contemporary Istanbul


Contemporary Istanbul brings together more than 700 artworks and 102 leading and emerging galleries from 28 cities across 24 countries. Twenty-three galleries are taking part for the first time, including Art Lexing (Miami), Galeria Contrast (Barcelona), Galerie Loevenbruck (Paris), Galerie Paris-Beijing (Paris), Heritage Gallery (Moscow), König Galerie (Berlin), Lazarides Gallery (London) and Shirin Gallery (Tehran).

CI is welcoming over 40 galleries from the region, including ALAN Istanbul, ARMAGGAN Art & Design (Istanbul), Art350 (Istanbul), art ON Istanbul, artSümer (Istanbul), Bozlu Art Project (Istanbul), C.A.M. (Istanbul), CEP Gallery (Istanbul), Corridor Contemporary (Tel Aviv), Daire (Istanbul), Dar Al-Anda (Amman), Dirimart (Istanbul), The Empire Project (Istanbul), Faur Zsófi Gallery (Budapest), Gaia Gallery (Istanbul), GALERi/Miz (Istanbul), Galeri 77 (Istanbul), Galeri Artist Istanbul, Galeri Baraz (Istanbul), Galerie Iragui (Moscow), Galeri İlayda (Istanbul), GALERIST (Istanbul), Galeri Nev Istanbul, Galeri Zilberman (Istanbul), Gama Gallery (Istanbul), Heritage Gallery (Moscow), Kare Art Gallery (Istanbul), Krampf Gallery (Istanbul), Kuad Gallery (Istanbul), MERKUR (Istanbul), Mika Gallery (Tel Aviv), Milk Gallery (Istanbul), Mixer (Istanbul), Nasui Collection & Gallery (Bucharest), Olcay Art (Istanbul), Parasite (Tel Aviv), Pg Art Gallery (Istanbul), Pi Artworks (Istanbul), Piramid Sanat (Istanbul), Project ArtBeat (Tbilisi), RAMPA Istanbul Art Gallery, RED art istanbul, Sanatorium (Istanbul), Savina Gallery (St. Petersburg), Siyah Beyaz (Istanbul), SODA (Istanbul), Versus Art Project (Istanbul) and x-ist (Istanbul).

Participating galleries were selected by CI’s Artistic Advisor Marc-Olivier Wahler, with selection committee members Kerimcan Güleryüz, Nathalie Mamane-Cohen and Freda Rozenbaum-Uziyel.

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