Art lovers traveling to Istanbul this autumn for the latest editions of the Contemporary Istanbul art fair (20 to 23 September) and the Istanbul Design Biennial (22 September to 4 November) will find plenty else to tempt their eyes and engage their minds in Turkey’s cultural capital. New and on-going shows at the city’s museums and galleries feature fresh looks at historical paintings and photographs, as well as contemporary sculpture and new-media works.
British sculptor Anthony Cragg’s strikingly tactile and vivid pieces grace the galleries of Istanbul Modern in the retrospective exhibition ‘Human Nature’ (ends 11 November), the first show at the museum’s temporary space. Contemporary sculptors from all around Turkey are featured in the ‘10th Terrace Exhibition: From Another Hill’ (ends 28 October) at the Elgiz Museum, whose rooftop venue amidst the office towers of the Maslak business district provides a unique backdrop against which to contemplate works on the theme of Istanbul.
Twin historical exhibitions at Koç University’s Research Centre for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) showcase never-before-exhibited photographs commissioned by Sultan Abdülhamid II to document early Ottoman settlements, and research carried out by Italian scholars on Byzantine art. ‘Ottoman Arcadia: The Hamidian Expedition to the Land of Tribal Roots (1886)’ runs through 30 September while ‘Picturing a Lost Empire: An Italian Lens on Byzantine Art in Anatolia, 1960–2000’ ends 31 December.
Three venues along the famous Bosphorus Strait take viewers from the Ottoman era into the future. . ‘Kütahya’ (ends 25 November) at the Sadberk Hanım Museum spotlights the richly decorated tiles and ceramics produced in the eponymous Turkish city between the 18th and 20th centuries. The Sakıp Sabancı Museum meanwhile takes visitors behind the brushstrokes of one of Turkey’s most renowned painters with ‘Osman Hamdi Bey: Beyond Vision’ (ends 31 December), a show based on an unprecedented conservation and scientific analysis using X-ray imaging analysis to reveal details not visible to the naked eye. The office galleries of the Borusan Contemporary, open to visitors only on weekends, feature multimedia works by the global collective Universal Everything in ‘Fluid Bodies’ (15 September to 17 February 2019), an exhibition exploring the human body and its capacity to transform and integrate with new technologies.
The gallery Mixer, which specialises in emerging artists, debuts two new shows in September: ‘Last Call’, a solo exhibition by Alican Leblebici, confronts issues of body, border, and security politics; ‘Proximity’, a group photography exhibition, explores patterns and progressions in nature and daily life. Both shows open 14 September and run through 20 October. Neighbouring gallery Sanatorium hosts a new solo show by Merve Şendil, who delves into ‘Dream Logic’ (19 October to 25 November) with her photos, sculptures, and light and sound installations. And SALT Beyoğlu tests the limits of language and knowledge with the science-fiction-flavoured group exhibition ‘The Universe Flickers’ (12 September to 30 December).
Italian artist Daniele Sigalot brings things back down to earth with his large-scale installations and unconventional mos aics at Anna Laudel Contemporary. His solo show, ‘Empires Ago’ (13 September to 26 October), is inspired by the Roman and Ottoman Empires who made Istanbul their capital.
1- Daniele Sigalot, Clearly not a paper plane, 2017 stainless steel and rusty iron