As we say goodbye to 2016, we asked important names from our art circles, Banu Çarmıklı, Gamze Büyükkuşoğlu, Ahu Büyükkuşoğlu Serter and Sevil Dolmacı, about their 2016 evaluations and expectations from 2017.
The art event of the year in Turkey and the world?
For Turkey, it was the cancellation of Art International art fair. Followed with excitement internationally, the fair had increased the country’s international recognition but it was unfortunate that it had to be cancelled due to critical events.
To talk about a positive development, the acquisition of Hüseyin Alptekin’s work by MoMA for their permanent collection is a great success. This happened as a result of long efforts. Other important developments for the Turkish art scene include the acquisition of Şükran Moral’s work by Poland Contemporary Art Museum, Halil Altındere’s growing visibility in Berlin Biennale and other international exhibitions.
In the world, the public exhibition of David Bowie’s collection and its appearance at the Sotheby’s auction were exciting.
Highlights from international fairs?
Fairs like Frieze Art Fair and Art Basel are star events known to all.
Instead I would like to answer this question with a few exhibitions that left a mark on me with their innovative and rich content. This year, New York was quite dynamic. Cornelia Parker’s large scale, site-specific installation exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum’s roof was spectacular. The wrk inspired by Edward Hopper’s paintings offered a unique experince with a view of manhattan and Central Park.
Another exhibition I can mention is “Keeper”, taken place at the New Museum in New York. It was an enchanting research and archive selection about the protection, preservation and archiving of artworks, ojects and visual materials.
Ahu Büyükkuşoğlu Serter & Gamze Büyükkuşoğlu:
The art event of the year, in Turkey and in the world? The most exciting developments in contemporary art you are looking forward to for 2017?
Last year, art experts had a neutral attitude towards 2016. The political changes, terrorism, the coup attempt and other events caused 2016 to be a difficult and static year for the art market, both for Turkey and other countries. Thus it would be more appropriate to evaluate 2016 not with a single art event but with a general overview of the efforts to keep the art market on its feet.
The newly opening galleries generated hope in the overall negative atmosphere. Although the market continues to remain at a stamelate, it was very positive to see the galleries supported each other in these difficult times. Istanbul Gallery Weekend jointly organized by Turkey’s leading galleries, Mamut Art Project and other projects like Young, New, Different that aim at supporting and promoting young artists, the new spaces of Dirimart and Gaia in Dolapdere were all sources of hope for 2017. Art International’s cancellation initially generated anxiety but this year, Contemporary Istanbul was a platform for efforts to revive art as a festival-like event, a new alternative; the first edition of Collector’s Stories was met with great public enthusiasm.
GALATA Business Angels of which we are a member collaborated with Contemporary Istanbul to realize its art & entrepreneurship project for the first time and promoted the gerçekleştirdik art-related start-ups.
In addition we can also say that online and virtual platforms with affordable artworks also saw an increase this year. The introduction and integration of art more persistently into our daily lives, be it in shopping malls, restaurants or billboards, the increase in the number of online exhibitions, were also more widely seen in 2016. Having art around us even under these negative circumstances was among the elements that gave us strength.
Looking at the world we see that the USA, UK and China were the leaders in terms of art market performance. Although the attendance figures of the leading fairs like Art Basel and Frieze organized in these countries decreased, there was not a drastic fall in sales figures compared to previous years. Although the audience shrank, the market remained steady, and this is exciting in addition to a growing interest in young, emerging, undiscovered and underappreciated artists and recently produced artworks all over the world.
We were more excited with emerging artists and art rather than large and generic art fairs; we will keep on supporting young art by continuing our artist residency program this year as well.
We wish all art enthusiasts a much better 2017 full of art.
The art event of the year? Which art forms, media and approaches will be on the rise in 2017? The most promising artists of 2017?
The highlight of 2016 for Turkish art is the news that the works of Fahrelnissa Zeid, one of the leading figures in Modern art, will meet audiences at Tate Modern as well as in other three important European museums. This means international visibility for Turkish art in the ‘real’ sense of the word.
As in 2016, 2017 will see a growing popularity of making a new statement on traditional canvas. Partially expressionist, partially realist styles where thick layers of paint are dominant wil continue to remain popular. One of the best examples is provided by Adrian Ghenie’s style; he is a young Romanian artist born in 1977 whose work was sold at Sotheby’s at 2.59 million dollars and he became a global center of attention with his sunflowers. Another current trend is reinterpreting historical portraits and/or seminal paintings with thick layers of paint and with an expressionist style. Realist tendencies are generally a rising trend. Artists like Kehinde Wiley, Taner Ceylan, Tigran Tsitoghdzyan are in global circulation.
As the promising artist of 2017, my favorite would be Elif Tutka, whom I believe will have a breakthrough and with whom I had a chance to work. she has already made it into large collections and her solo exhibition will be realized under the sponsorship of a corporate structure.