- What’s On
Unlike the much older Venice Biennale, at the Istanbul Biennial there was a feeling of youthful experimentation, a sense that the participating countries had not sent their heaviest artistic guns, but those who are still on the cutting edge of what passes for the avant garde.
The newly restored Fezhane, a former fez factory on the Golden Horn, provides exactly the sort of flexible, neutral space required by contemporary installation artists. With fifteen different countries exhibiting in the same building, there was a sense of intimacy most big international group shows lack.
The British Council sent two very young artists, Hannah Collins and Damien Hirst. Collins exhibited blown-up black and white photographs of no particular visual or conceptual interest. At first glance Hirst, who has been shortlisted for the prestigious Turner Prize, looked as vacuous as she did, but in his case first impressions are deceptive.
The Acquired Inability to Escape is nothing more than a severe and rather elegant glassed-in rectangle. Inside are a table, chair, cigarette, cigarette lighter, and an ashtray filled with cigarette butts.
This is not a sculpture so much as a three-dimensional still life with sinister narrative overtones.
The French novelist Pierre Loti caused a stir in the 1900s when he championed the cause of Turkish women. But just who were the three veiled women who gave him his information? Ömer Koç reports on an infamous literary deception
A storm one cold winter’s day in Rome brought Jean-Etienne Liotard to Istanbul. In a café where he took refuge from the rain, he met an Englishman, William Ponsonby, the future Earl of Bessborough, who invited the painter to join his party on a tour of the East. Liotard accepted, and they set sail from Naples on April 3, 1738.
The relentless bombing of Mostar (1992) is destroying the fruits of five centuries of peaceful coexistance in Bosnia. Marian Wenzel recalls how the old Ottoman city looked when she lived there in the Sixties
Exquisite bulbs, once uprooted in their millions, may be saved by a scheme to satisfy both gardeners and conservationists. Botanist Andrew Byfield reports
He was the most prolific architect of all time and his legacy endures in the great mosques created for Süleyman the Magnificent. Yet, as Brian Sewell discovers, this contemporary of Michelangelo is barely known to the West. Brian Sewell admires his legacy. Photographs by Ara Güler.
The Mocan Yalı, in the pretty village of Kuzguncuk, half a mile upstream from Üsküdar, is relatively old, decidedly large and incontrovertibly pink. Sultans stayed in it, and Liszt played in it. The yalı was purchased by the Toprak family shortly after this article was published. The interior of the house was gutted and only the facade remains. The images published in this article are a unique historical record of a centuries-old house and were taken by David George for Cornucopia in 1992