Each November in Istanbul there is a flurry of action in anticipation of Contemporary Istanbul, the region’s premier art fair. Galleries ready themselves for one of the biggest events on the Istanbul art scene, and the public eagerly anticipates opening day, when they can wander through some of the best contemporary art on offer in Turkey and beyond.
What is particularly exciting about the 10th edition of Contemporary Istanbul is the section with a specific focus on art from Tehran. Each year the fair showcases a cutting-edge selection of contemporary art from a specific geographic region or on a relevant subject. With the decision to highlight galleries from Tehran just as it looks like US sanctions against Iran will be lifted, Contemporary Istanbul is shrewdly positioning itself as a place for collectors and visitors to get a taste of the rich contemporary art scene in Iran, which up until now has remained out of reach for most. The works presented are by both emerging and established artists such as Nasser Bakhshi from Aaran Gallery, Babak Roshaninejad from Assar Gallery, Ali Akbar Sadeghi from Shirin Gallery, Moreshin Allahyari from Lajevardi Foundation and Houman Mortazavi from Dastan’s Basement.
Ali Akbar Sadeghi, ‘Animal Hunt From the Unwritten Series’, 2010, ink, acrylic, gold and silver leaf on canvas, 126 x 237 m, Shirin Gallery
The fair will also be organising a Plugin New Media section for the third year running. Curated around the theme of ‘X-CHANGE’, this exhibition focuses on mutations and the processes and operations of transformation. If your interests lie in the intersection of contemporary art and technology, you should wind your way down to this display.
Even if you’re not a fan of new media and its use in contemporary art, you should still visit this basement lair as it’s where you’ll find the Cornucopia team. That’s right, we have a booth and will be selling our wares – both current and past issues, as well as selected book titles – and providing witty banter (although the latter depends on what time of day you catch us).
We’ll also provide our thoughts on the fair in real time, so watch this space for an update on this massive triumph of contemporary art.
Contemporary Istanbul runs from November 12–15. Visit their website to learn more about the participating galleries and the full programme.