Art And Culture

Istanbul Biennial Opens With Outstanding Art

Istanbul Biennial Opens With Outstanding ArtIstanbul Biennial Opens With Outstanding Art

The Istanbul biennial, “Saltwater: A Theory of Thought Forms,” opened on September 4 with the art world gathered to hear what the famed curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev’s had to say.

This is her first major exhibition since the well-received Documenta 13 in 2012.

“Art has a possibility of shaping the souls of people, and transforming opinions of opinion leaders who are also in a trickle-down effect shaping what will be the policies of government,” she said in her speech.

The salt water theme is multilayered in its meaning, drawing on salt water as a metaphor that ranges from the sea and the Bosphorus of Istanbul to the flow of peoples across the world, the waves of history and trauma in the world, and in the history of the ancient city of Istanbul. Salt water both heals and corrodes, she said, reported.

The twisting streets of Istanbul are hosting works of the biennial.

‘Un/fit for Feeling’ (2015), by British artist and poet Heather Phillipson, whose work was a letter to the human heart comprised of sculpture, film and installation. The core of the piece was what it meant to be “heartfelt,” as the heart as an organ cannot feel.

There is also an Armenian theme to the biennial, marking a century since the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman government. Among sites open to visitors is the building of Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist who founded bilingual paper Agos, and was assassinated in 2007.

Also, the ‘Museum of Innocence’ author and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk is hosting two paintings by abstract expressionist artist Arshile Gorky, who survived the genocide in 1915.

The work also shows slides of Islamic sculpture and an intricate 17th-century Iznik bowl.

At Istanbul Modern, conceptual artist Liam Gillick’s formula used to create a pulse, or flow, can’t be missed on the waterside of the museum, visible to all who look at the city from the other side of the Bosphorus.

One of the most striking works of the biennial is the installation work by Egyptian painter Anna Boghiguian at the Galata Greek Primary School. It explores the nature, history, and science of salt, from the scientific formulas and maps of the world that decorate the draped sails to the piles of salt from Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Turkey.