Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair Welcomes Visitors Online

Contemporary Istanbul, held annually since 2005, has moved online for its 15th edition. It invites all art enthusiasts, collectors and curious onlookers for the free virtual experience.

Contemporary Istanbul is the leading annual art fair in Istanbul, which usually takes place in September. Due to the coronavirus this year, the 15th edition was initially postponed, then moved online to ensure the health of all participants and better accessibility for all.

The 15th Contemporary Istanbul is going by ‘Virtual Contemporary Istanbul’ this year, and it will be live from December 21, 2020 to January 6, 2021. Its online status has also allowed for the event to be held for longer than a weekend, which had been the case with previous CIs.

Visiting Virtual Contemporary Istanbul is free with registration. Visitors, galleries and artists can interact in real time, and collectors can view artworks and their details with a simple click. The platform will allow art lovers and enthusiasts to join the art fair from wherever they are in the world. This is the first time that CI has presented itself online, but it plans to make a tradition of it.

In addition to the local and international galleries showcasing their talent, there is also a section, now in its eighth year, called ‘Plugin Istanbul’ that focuses on new media and digital arts. Plugin Istanbul is curated by Esra Ozkan and features 17 artists this year.

Moreover, CI has plans to present itself once again in person next spring, with VIP previews on April 27-28, 2021 and public viewings between April 29-May 2, 2021.

During the online press conference on December 17, Contemporary Istanbul CEO Ali Gureli, who himself fell ill with Covid-19 and recovered, said: “As we all know, the world is going through a time that none of us has ever experienced before,” adding that “with the Ministry of the Interior’s new decisions and weekend restrictions, as well as good news about the Covid-19 vaccines and vaccinations beginning worldwide, we decided that the bright, lively, hope filled days of spring would be a better time when we can all take a deep breath.”

Gureli added that “the times we are moving through has forced us and the whole world, to digitalise in a fast manner, to speed up the processes [of going online] … With virtual.contemporaryistanbul.com we are creating a virtual fair that is a first in international art circles. We believe that  our virtual fair will reflect all the enthusiasm, accumulation and activity that our physical fair has.”

Akbank Corporate Communications Department Head Murat Gollu has said that “We have been supporting Contemporary Istanbul, which has substantially benefited contemporary art in our country, for 15 years, appearing with the Akbank Sanat exhibition every year. Because of the pandemic, this year was a tough one for art institutions and artists, but we did not stop. We are marching on with Akbank Sanat, the Akbank Jazz Festival special album and now with Contemporary Istanbul.”

Gollu said: “As Akbank Sanat, we will appear in this important fair with a mixed exhibition called ‘Corona Days Carnival’. I highly recommend you see [it] featuring the works of Ansen, Genco Gulan, Gulin Hayat Topdemir, Hande Varsat, Onur Mansız, Seckin Pirim, Seydi Murat Koc, Sırma Doruk, Sıtkı Kosemen, Deniz Aktas, Sinan Logie and Suat Akdemir.”

Curator Hasan Bulent Kahraman explained why the selection he made for Akbank is called a carnival: “A carnival is a civilian affair. Its choreography is spontaneous and sincere. It is original and needs to be shared, it is not an individual experience.” According to Kahraman, this part of CI will have more than 25 works by 12 artists.”

Gollu thanked the Contemporary Istanbul team, ending with “We believe Contemporary Istanbul will offer an incomparable experience to art lovers with its technological infrastructure and innovative design.”

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