Istanbul Europen City of Culture 2010

European City of Capital Culture Istanbul 2010


One Port for two Continents – We will always have Paris? Written by Juliette Goddard MARCA

As an artist to land in Istanbul for the arrival of the opening of the New Year 2010 and Celebrate the European city of capital culture 2010 with the moon the size of a football, reminded me of a collagraph print I once did called “women in the moon”.

New Years day and the start of 2010 that was the vision of the old year and the sun setting behind the blue Mosque and the Cultural Capital brought thousands of local people and tourists onto the streets , with the colourful spice markets as a holiday for all , even though the parties kept going on all night much like any city that never sleeps I guessed the winning of cultural capital was enough for the city the streets all very well policed and everyone in celebration mood for the future no doubt of Turkey and would it one day be also part of the European Union?

A classical City Istanbul historic or “One port for two Continents as described by one Turkish Art exhibition currently at the grand Palais Paris demonstrating the last 8 thousand years of Istanbul.

My first meeting was at Istanbul Modern Art gallery with curator Lora Sariaslan, the curator responsible for the changing exhibitions at the art gallery. The art modern was set up with private investment, and by very dynamic women Oyo Eczacibasai, that includes her personal art collection, the gallery attracts over 500,000 visitors and is positioned close to the art academy schools in the old docks or shipping area of Istanbul.

Its first floor houses a collection of Turkish paintings sculpture and Artists with Western and historic influences, the lower floor the space for changing exhibitions new contempory Art instillations and the work of British artist Richard Wentworth “False Ceilings and the distribution of knowledge”. 

Thousands of books suspended from the ceiling of the art gallery that swing into the the entrance of the Library now a piece that is held in the permanent collection. As a former fine art student of Richard’s at Hornsey Art school what came to mind behind what you might say this glass ceiling work was that the exhibition called Europa, that I am involved with this year at the European Art gallery London.

The visionary concept was the fact that I too was photographing thousands of beautiful ceramic mosque ceilings at the Aya Sophia, the first construction built 325-360 AD during the reign Constantine, with the ceramic mosques and the stories of the Ottoman Sultans.

The name alone “Sacred wisdom” damaged by several earthquakes was going to draw upon a lot of European City of Capital Cultural investment for restoration renovation, history and Cultural heritage during this year 2010.

If this ceiling doesn’t inspire humanity indeed nothing will so Richard Wentworth’s ceilings conceptual work was great food for thought.

As also with the art market it will bring in foreign visitors, not just from the already popular trading countries visiting Istanbul like Russia and Germany.

As all traders say Art has been the best performing asset class the last 20 years.

One of the main focus of European Capital Culture 2010 is the focus on art fairs and the economic developments of artist and galleries. Also to strengthen Turkish International reputation in contemporary art circles and improves its national market place in the art market. The 11th Istanbul art biennial attracted over 101,000 visitors, the Istanbul contemporary art fair around 53,000 and modern 500,000 a year.

Istanbul Contemporary Art fair made an invitation to Syria, and a friend and artist BP National Portrait prize winner in Britain, Sara Shamma was included with a very figurative Florence Nightingale painting that illustrated her asleep, in the New Horizans space, with art galleries like Ayyam included Beirut, Damascus, Syria and the Middle East. The next invitation will be made to Iran.

All of these Art fairs like Abu Dhabi bring in visitors of 20,000 to 100,000 visitors and it would take a lifetime of Solo exhibitions if you were an Artist to gain the same kind of visibility, as Istanbul is one of the few Art fairs in the Middle-east. For me geographically it is closer to Athens Art Biennial Heaven, and Greece, but so much more influenced by the Middle East and its neighbouring Syria. The visual Arts programme of projects for the European Capital Culture 2010 includes lives and works in Istanbul six artists from the Eu countries – George Lappas workshop in April 2010. Each of the artists will produce an art work for Istanbul by the end of 2010; a collection of 77 pieces of art will be presented to Istanbul.Visibility a one day intense programme October 2010, intends to make contemporary art, artist and Galata Visible to the people just like a flash of Lightning aiming to make visible historical architectural and sociological richness richness of Galata and the industry in Sishane.Highly regarded artists, organizers and museum executitives visiting Istanbul offered a platform where they can get to know the local production.Photography parade in December 2010, will aim to document an important cultural art and life a total of 12 photography exhibitions will be opened at the Fototrek photography centre or Istanbul street including works by local and foreign photographers.

Transform in Art Education is work by students and art instructors from South east European countries Art Universities Academics and observe their interaction the aim to create a common platform on an international level for art students and scholars where they can share knowledge and experience. There are many other, very exciting Visual Arts events including the 5th International Student Triennial June 2010 Contemporary Art Memory January December 2010, Encounter of Mediterranean Art schools May 2010, and Istanbul in children’s eyes.

At the end of the year 2010 I am sure we will see some exciting results and enlightenment to the cultural source of inspiration from Modern, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman era. Just one Ceiling the Aya Sofia will consume and inspire the visionaries the photographers, painters film-makers installation and ceramic artist’s to the Islamic wisdom traditions of its culture in a lasting vision.

European City of Capital Culture 2010

Istanbul Contemporary Art Fair    



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