In this text I will deal with a period of twenty years (1987-2007) in the
development of contemporary art system and practice in Istanbul. There are two
prerequisites in my attempt. Firstly, I will focus on Istanbul and not on Turkey,
because even after twenty years of fundamental infrastructural transformations the
contemporary art is being produced, promoted and issued only in Istanbul. Secondly,
the international art experts have hardly penetrated into this contemporary art scene
and therefore could not contribute with any kind of theoretical or critical oeuvre, I
think that Istanbul art scene is not being evaluated with a professional objectivity or
even subjectivity but with optimist prejudices or with entrepreneurial endeavor.
Istanbul has two faces: the seeming, which is promoted by the art experts of the
mainstream global culture industry and the real as reflected in the art works and the
local critical theory. Based on these hypotheses, the text aims to give the reader the
socio-political, cultural background of contemporary art in Istanbul, the development
of the essential transitions in culture industry and the relations with EU within the
framework of its enlargement and cultural integration policies.
The emblematic moments of contemporary art making throughout these two decades
follow the path of the political and economic episodes.
In the 80’s in spite of the military intervention and the anti-democratic constitution
the art got rid of its modernist dust and formalism due to the transition from state
capitalism to liberal economy and international communication amenities. The artists
embraced the concept and minimal art forms and mixed media installations and
spiritually jumped into a parallel course with international stream of interdisciplinary
production. The infrastructure of contemporary art scene was barren; it consisted of
two main universities (Mimar Sinan University and Marmara University) with their
yearly art festivals, a few independent artist’s group exhibitions, private galleries and
some corporate culture initiatives. The artists enjoyed their position as the fosterer of
post-modern culture and the new visual aesthetics. The earnest attempt to fund or
built a modern and contemporary art museum failed due to lack of interest from the
state and the private sector.
Devamı için tıklayın (.doc)