The Cornucopia Arts Diary desk received news this week that the art space TANAS will close its doors for good on November 3, at the end of the forthcoming exhibition, The Unanswered Question. Iskele 2, which opens on September 8.
The project opened in the autumn of 2007 in Heidestraße in the centre of Berlin, in a partnership between Edition Block Berlin (an exhibition space founded in 1966) and the Vehbi Koç Foundation. It was devised as a free, independent space with the aim of introducing the latest Turkish art to an international audience in Central Europe. As this week's press release from TANAS stated: ‘This self-imposed task has been accomplished’, and so the space will close.
Over the years TANAS has introduced an extensive educational programme and established itself as a forum for exchanges between international artists, authors and curators of Turkish origin. Earlier this year, from May 25 to July 27, it hosted a prologue exhibition to the 13th Istanbul Biennial. Entitled Agoraphobia, it focused on the theme of freedom of expression in public spaces – a fitting subject in the light of events unfolding in Turkey at the time.
It is sad news indeed that this space is closing down, but as TANAS’s communications manager, Karin Barth, says, ‘The [Vehbi Koç] Foundation runs so many other important cultural venues and ventures [eg the Biennial] that TANAS was just one among many’. Although we do at least have the opening of Koç Contemporary to look forward to in 2016 in Istanbul, exhibition spaces such as this outside Turkey are essential in order maintain a dialogue between Turkish artists and curators and the international audience.