Istanbul Biennial

Istanbul Biennial
İstanbul Bienali
GenreContemporary art
BeginsMid September
EndsMid November
FrequencyEvery two years (odd years)
Location(s)Istanbul, Turkey
Most recent2017
Patron(s)İstanbul Kültür Sanat Vakfı (IKSV)

Istanbul Biennial is a contemporary art exhibition, held every two years in Istanbul, Turkey, since 1987. The Biennial is organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) since its inception[1][2]. The Biennial aims to create a meeting point in Istanbul in the field of visual arts between artists from diverse cultures and the audience. The biennials IKSV has organized up to now have enabled the formation of an international cultural network between local and international art circles, artists, curators and art critics by bringing together new trends in contemporary art every two years.


Istanbul Biennial adheres to an exhibition model in which the curator, appointed by an international advisory board, develops a conceptual framework according to which a variety of artists and projects are invited to the exhibition. After the first two biennials realized under the general coordination of Beral Madra in 1987 and 1989, IKSV decided to commission a different curator for each edition, starting with the 1992 Istanbul Biennial directed by Vasif Kortun.

The most comprehensive international art exhibition organized in Turkey and the wider region, Istanbul Biennial plays an important role as a local and regional platform for artists to reach an international audience, and for the local audiences to meet artists from around the World. The opportunity to follow developments and discussions in the art world through a complementary educational programme is provided both for students and viewers of art through the exhibitions and simultaneously translated panel discussions, conferences and workshops organized within the scope of the exhibitions.

Istanbul’s 13th biennial in 2013 was overtaken by political events; its theme was art in public spaces but was forced to retreat indoors after many of the scheduled venues filling with plumes of tear gas and water cannon as police and demonstrators clashed had been tuned into a battleground between demonstrators trying to protect the city’s Gezi Park.[3]

The 2015 edition presented new works by more than 50 visual artists as well as oceanographers and neuroscientists.[4]

Past Biennals

Installation from Istanbul 2005 Biennial
  • 1987 "Contemporary Art in Traditional Spaces" General Coordinator: Beral Madra
  • 1989 "Contemporary Art in Traditional Spaces" General Coordinator: Beral Madra
  • 1992 "Production of Cultural Difference" Director: Vasif Kortun
  • 1995 "Orient-ation - The Image of Art in a Paradoxical World" Curator: René Block
  • 1997 "On Life, Beauty, Translations and Other Difficulties" Curator: Rosa Martinez
  • 1999 "The Passion and the Wave" Curator: Paolo Colombo
  • 2001 "Egofugal - Fugue from Ego for the Next Emergence" Curator: Yuko Hasegawa
  • 2003 "Poetic Justice" Curator: Dan Cameron
  • 2005 "İstanbul" Curators: Charles Esche and Vasif Kortun
  • 2007 "Not Only Possible, But Also Necessary: Optimism in the Age of Global War" Curator: Hou Hanru
  • 2009 "What Keeps Mankind Alive?". Curators: WHW / What, How & for Whom
  • 2011 "Untitled" Curators: Adriano Pedrosa and Jens Hoffmann
  • 2013 "Mom, am I barbarian?" Curator: Fulya Erdemci
  • 2015 “SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms” Drafter: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
  • 2017 "A Good Neighbour". Curators: Elmgreen & Dragset

Participating artists at the 2005 Istanbul Biennial

Participating artists at the 12th Istanbul Biennial, 2011

The 12th Istanbul Biennial was curated by Jens Hoffmann and Adriano Pedrosa, and ran from September 17 – November 13, 2011. The shows spanned two buildings at Istanbul's Antrepo.

Group Exhibitions

  • "Untitled" (Ross)
  • "Untitled" (History)
  • "Untitled" (Abstraction)
  • "Untitled" (Passport)
  • "Untitled" (Death by Gun)

Solo Artists

Past venues

The 2009 biennial took place at three venues on the European side of the city: Antrepo, or warehouse, No. 3 in Tophane; the Tobacco Warehouse, also in Tophane; and the Feriköy Greek School, in Şişli.[5] All of the art selected for the 2011 edition was shown at one central location, in Warehouses No. 3 and 5 next to the Istanbul Modern museum.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Istanbul Biennial (Turkey)". Biennial Foundation. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  2. ^ "Home Page". bienal.iksv.org. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  3. ^ Andrew Finkel (September 11, 2014), Istanbul Biennial curator reveals concept behind 'Saltwater' theme Archived 2014-09-12 at the Wayback Machine The Art Newspaper.
  4. ^ Andrew Finkel (September 11, 2014), Istanbul Biennial curator reveals concept behind 'Saltwater' theme Archived 2014-09-12 at the Wayback Machine The Art Newspaper.
  5. ^ Susanne Fowler (September 12, 2009), A Croatian Collective Takes Charge at Istanbul’s Biennial New York Times.
  6. ^ Susanne Fowler (September 15, 2011), Istanbul Biennial: One Location, Many Attitudes New York Times.

External links

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