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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ISTANBUL BIENNIAL IS A SHOW OF MANY PARTS





Istanbul Biennial is a show of many parts
The 12th edition, which opened this past weekend, offers small, tightly-curated, cabinet-style exhibitions

By Gareth Harris Web only
Published online 19 Sep 11 (News)

Istanbul. Istanbul’s standing as an important emerging art centre—from its nascent artists to its lively commercial gallery scene and boom in privately run spaces—was reflected in the scrum that descended on the opening on 17 September of the 12th Istanbul Biennial (the exhibition runs until 13 November). Luminaries attending the preview from 15-16 September included Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, Tate curators Jessica Morgan and Frances Morris, Salzburg-based dealer Thaddaeus Ropac and Francis Outred, head of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s.

Visitors to the biennial site, the Antrepo complex of former warehouses on the banks of the Bosphorus, were also keen to discover which artists would appear in the show following a publicity blackout on participating practitioners. The move appeared part of a deliberate strategy to subvert the typical 21st-century biennial model, which is usually characterised by abstruse titles and indigestible thematic concerns.

This was indeed envisaged as a new type of exhibition, more contained and less sprawling than other biennials, by its co-curators: Rio de Janeiro-born Adriano Pedrosa, co-curator of the 27th Bienal de São Paulo (2006), and Jens Hoffmann, director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco. The duo are presenting works by over 110 artists in five group shows surrounded by clusters of solo exhibitions, over 50 in total, in a series of display spaces fashioned from corrugated steel sheets. These distinct, strikingly simple, white-cube style boxes are designed by Japanese architect Ryue Nishizawa (the biennial budget was €2m).

Read full article here.

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