Contemporary Istanbul


The 17th edition of Contemporary Istanbul closed on Thursday, September 22, 2022, with strong sales reported by its exhibitors. Taking place in Tersane Istanbul, historic Ottoman shipyards on the Golden Horn, the 2022 fair featured 65 leading galleries and art initiatives from 22 countries. The fair attracted an overall attendance of 48,700 throughout its VIP preview and general admission days. The main partner of Contemporary Istanbul is Akbank.


The 17th edition has been visited by collectors and museum groups from around the world, including Switzerland, Brazil, Canada, the USA, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates. Major museum collections acquired new artworks at the fair.

Participating galleries reported buoyant sales, with an overall sales rate of 77 percent. Many works with listed prices from $15,000 – $65,000 sold in the first hours of the fair.

Dirimart said it has sold artworks by Sarkis, Günyol Özlem, Inci Eviner, Peter Zimmerman, Summer Wheat, among others.

Leila Heller reported selling Naeemeh Kazemi ($40,000 to $50,000).

Cody’s Legend, vs. Freud’s Shit Box by Cody Choi from Sevil Dolmaci Art Gallery set a record so far, selling for $450,000. The gallery also sold Ross Bleckner ($125,000), and Eric Shaw.

Milak Radenko from the Belgrade gallery Hestia sold for 45,000 euros.

Etchings by Joan Miro from Galeria Joan Gaspar ranged from 11,000-12,000 euros.

Pi Artworks saw good sales with works by Kemal Seyhan and Osman Dinc, and Sarah Dwyer.

BüroSarıgedik sold Meric Algün and Gülsün Karamustafa, while Pilot Gallery had reported sales of Irem Tok, Emir Erkaya, and Ece Ağırtmış.

Öktem Aykut reported selling Renee Levi, Aret Gicir, and Murat Yildiz. Ambidexter sold Gaspar Martinez.

Contemp Istanbul - Photo Credit: Firuz Soyuer
Contemp Istanbul – Photo Credit: Firuz Soyuer

Art On successfully sold works by their artists, including Greek artists Evgenia Vereli and Malvina Panagiotidi. Anca Poterasu from Bucharest sold Dragos Badita.

Contemporary Istanbul has also held a reception for the Istanbul-based Consuls General and other diplomats, where the CI Chairperson Ali Güreli talked about the vibrant cultural scene of Istanbul and about how art is transforming the Golden Horn.


During the fair, Contemporary Istanbul partner BMW presented a special edition of the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe created by Jeff Koons. As part of this collaboration, there has been an artist talk between Jeff Koons and Contemporary Istanbul Chairperson Ali Güreli.

THE 8 X JEFF KOONS is the embodiment of precision, refinement, and craftsmanship, with a multi-layer paint taking 285 hours to apply onto each car. The expressive and striking design combines eleven different exterior colors ranging from blue to silver as well as from yellow to black.


A strong line-up of galleries from Europe and the Middle East was joined by top galleries from North America, Africa, and Asia. Fourteen galleries participated for the first time. A total of 1,476 artworks by 558 artists were exhibited at the fair.

Contemporary Istanbul - Photo Credit: Firuz Soyuer
Contemporary Istanbul – Photo Credit: Firuz Soyuer

Highlighting the vibrant cultural scene of Turkey, Contemporary Istanbul also featured a number of contemporary art initiatives rising in different regions of the country, including: ARE PROJECTS, Antalya; EKAV, Istanbul; IMALAT-HANE, Bursa; LOADING, Diyarbakir; NOKS ART SPACE, Istanbul; VIABLE, Istanbul; VIDEOIST, Düzce, Istanbul. BAKSI MUSEUM, Bayburt, and OMM, Eskişehir, also took part in the fair, as well as the KVARELI FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY ART from Tbilisi, Georgia.


The Yard exhibition, which was held in the outer courtyard of Tersane as part of Contemporary Istanbul, featured 27 site-specific installations and sculptures by artists such as Anke Eilergerhard, Ardan Özmenoğlu, Ayla Turan, Bedri Baykam, Bilal Hakan Karakaya, Can Yıldırım, Canan Tolon, Erdil Yaşaroğlu, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Halil Altındere, Isaac Chong Wai, Ingravi Desa, Irfan Önürmen, Itamar Gov, Kemal Tufan, Luis Cera, Martian Tabakov, Martin Creed, Mentalklinik, Mehmet Ali Uysal, Osman Dinç, Renée Levi, Sergen Şehitoğlu, Stefano Bombardieri, Uğur Cinel, Vuslat.

Contemporary Istanbul - Photo Credit: Firuz Soyuer
Contemporary Istanbul – Photo Credit: Firuz Soyuer

Yes! We’re OPEN by Canan Tolon refers to the mercantile label so often seen posted on storefronts. Like most of her works, it is essentially based on deceptive messaging. This installation is a field of doors standing all wide open to invite you in, while they obstruct one another. And if for some reason you assumed you were misled, the title will assure you were wrong to think so.

The Istanbul-born artist Renée Levi recalls that her childhood spent in Istanbul has been a source of notable inspiration. With an authentic placement for Tersane Istanbul, Renée Levi brought back her large dimensioned paintings titled Barbra from the Color Field series, which are wide, colorful blocks arranged to complete one another and were once displayed in Museum Langmatt, Baden, in 2019.

Martin Creed’s new work in Istanbul is a monument to water: water which is needed for life and of which people are mostly made; water which is fun and dangerous, life-giving and life-threatening.


As part of the CIF Dialogues by TAV Passport series, the Contemporary Istanbul Foundation organized a series of public talks and discussions.

Moderated by curator Marc Olivier Wahler, the “Testing the Elasticity of the Art Space” panel brought together Federica Beretta, Hou Hanru, Mehmet Even, Melisa Pezuk, and Murat Tabanlıoğlu on September 17. The speakers discussed the art spaces of today and tomorrow. Also on September 17, CIF Artist In Residence Program with Tosyalı Holding held a talk program focused on upcycling and sustainability. On September 18, there was a public talk ”Art in Public Space” and “Digital Design: New Horizons for Architecture.”

CIF Artist-in-Residence
CIF Artist-in-Residence

This summer, Contemporary Istanbul Foundation (CIF) has been running the CIF Artist-in-Residence program in collaboration with Tosyali Holding. Focusing on the theme of upcycling, artists Chiara de Rocchi, Emrullah Örünklü, Koray Tokdemir, Nermin Ülker, and Songül Girgin have been working with scrap metal materials. Their works were exhibited at the 17th edition of Contemporary Istanbul in Tersane Istanbul. This project is an example of CIF’s efforts to engage major Turkish businesses and motivate them to support the art community.

cody_s legend vs freud_s hit box
cody_s legend vs freud_s hit box

Contemporary Istanbul’s main partner Akbank presented the exhibition Other Voices, Other Rooms by Clement Valla, curated by Hasan Bulent Kahraman. By making use of the potential of digital art, Valla adds new dimensions to nature, which we look at every day, we think we see and believe to be in its right place and stable, yet has an aspect that always remains obscure and mysterious. He drags nature, with a dimension that is imperceptible to us, to the limits of our perception of reality.

Pernod Ricard Turkey, a partner of Contemporary Istanbul, presented the sculpture-performance Disruption by artist duo ha:ar (Hande Şekerciler and Arda Yalkın). The duo scrutinizes the potential of technology to radically change the concept of art by starting a conversation about the relationships between art, machine, and artificial intelligence. With the help of the robotic arm, which they brought to the fair, ha:ar were producing the artwork in real time. Throughout the fair, the audience was able to observe the daily progress of the work, and on the last day of the fair, they got the chance to witness the finessing interventions by the artists themselves. As part of Disruption, House of Brothers Lounge also hosted talks about the place of artificial intelligence and technology in the art world, the nature of their relationship, and the future of art.


At LG OLED ART booth, Kim Whanki’s Universe was exhibited as NFT. This is the first NFT work produced based on the artist’s original artwork (5-IV-71#200 Universe) which was completed in New York in the 1970s. It is the only masterpiece made in two widths among Kim Whanki’s works to deeply feel the lyricism of nature and the mystery of the vast cosmic space.

Artist Güvenç Özel presented a new project, Spectrum. It utilizes cutting-edge optical and simulation technologies to embed the audience into digital art forms in real time. By feeding live camera feeds into a game engine, Spectrum creates an interactive and ever-changing distortion of reality. The audience can see their own reflection on the digital and animated forms on its LED surfaces, while the environmental parameters such as light and architectural context are grafted into the artwork.

Contemporary Istanbul partner QUA Granite presented a work by sculptor Günnur Özsoy.
With its shining mother-of-pearl color and fluid form, the work she created for CI reminds the audience of a drop of water or stones found in nature.



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