ISTANBUL – One of the region’s largest Biennials opened its doors again this year on 2 September. Established in 1987, the Istanbul Biennial is reputedly the world’s third most important art event of its kind. To mark this occasion, Sotheby’s Preferred arranged a bespoke trip to offer some of our valued clients the opportunity of a seamless experience in navigating both the Biennial and also the third edition of the fast-growing Art International art fair.



SOTHEBY’S ISTANBUL CONSULTANT ELIF BAYOGLU STANDING IN FRONT OF A MASTERPIECE BY
TURKISH ARTIST TANER CEYLAN TITLED THE FOUR STATES, 2015.

Turkey boasts some major collectors, a number of acclaimed private museums and a history and heritage which are the envy of many a European country. Its vast cultural treasures can leave the visitor bewildered, spoiled for choice and too breathless to fit it all into a short visit. The coincidence of the 14th Istanbul Biennial taking place alongside Art International this year adds to the selection of must-see attractions, and rave reviews of both events are causing visitors to drive far and wide across the city’s extraordinary landscape, despite the customary congested traffic.



A BEAUTIFUL WORK BY PAUL GUIRAGOSSIAN AT ISTANBUL MODERN.

Of the Biennial, Sotheby’s Istanbul consultant Elif Bayoglu says, “This year’s Istanbul Biennial is particularly interesting and special because it really immerses you in the city itself, as it stretches from the edges of the Black Sea, to the Princes Islands, from hotel rooms, to car parks, 15th-century hammams, to old bank vaults. It draws you to explore and experience these mystical places, which even as a local you may never have noticed or may never be allowed to discover again. The theme is Saltwater: A Theory of Thought Forms, and it runs through the show surfacing in each work in a subtle but deeply interconnected way, enhanced by the dialogue between the mostly site-specific and commissioned works and their placement in these meticulously selected locations. It is drafted this year by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, and the opportunity to see new works by William Kentridge, Theaster Gates, Taner Ceylan, Asli Cavusoglu, Adrián Villar Rojas and many other great artists should not be missed.”



ANOTHER WORK BY PAUL GUIRAGOSSIAN AT ISTANBUL MODERN.

Art International featured a number of high-profile galleries such as Krizinger, Victoria Miro and Paul Kasmin, with others from around the world – Pearl Lam from Hong Kong, Assar from Iran, Leila Heller from NY – bringing in a curated selection that appealed to both the international and local community. My personal favourites included Mohammad-Hossein Emad’s sculpture at Assar and photographic works of Palmyra at Tristan Hoare.

Art tourism is proving to be a most profitable and attractive sector for any country. Turkey has not been slow in responding to this trend. In my experience, it has been impossible to leave Istanbul disappointed.