Universes in Universe / Caravan / 9th Istanbul Biennial
9th International Istanbul Biennial, 16 September - 30 October, 2005
Esche and Kortun appointed curator of the 9th International Istanbul Biennial
Press release, received from the organizer on 24 Sept. 2004
The 9th International Istanbul Biennial, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, will open in the city from 16 September to 30 October 2005. For the first time the Biennial will be co-curated, with Charles Esche and Vasýf Kortun working together on an exhibition structure that folds out of and reveals its context - the city of Istanbul.
The title of this Biennial will initially be "Istanbul", referring both to the real urban location and the imaginative charge that this city represents for the world. "Istanbul" as a metaphor, as a prediction, as a lived reality and an inspiration has many stories to tell and the Biennial will attempt to tap directly into this rich history and possibility.
Esche and Kortun will not be using any of the historic monuments located in the historical peninsula preferring to work in sites that have a more common reference to post-industrialisation, the physical legacy of modernity and the shift to a consumer economy. Another distinct change will be that this Biennial will take place simultaneously at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands. The Eindhoven exhibition will be a parallel project, sharing some artists and drawing on the history of the Istanbul Biennial to represent the idea of ‘elsewhere’ in all its complexity within an international art museum. In doing so, it will pose questions about the hierarchy between the stable museum context and the transient biennial event.
To achieve this, Esche and Kortun plan to select artworks on two grounds. Firstly, by commissioning works by artists who deal directly with the urban conditions of the city, its history and future. Secondly, by selecting works that they judge provoke a contrast to Istanbul or provide a conscious estrangement from the surrounding reality. The Biennial will organise long-term residencies in Istanbul for some artists and attempt to give each individual presentation greater substance than is traditional in art biennials. Esche and Kortun will also select fewer artists than before and start in the region before working outwards to Asia, Europe and beyond.
A parallel project of the Biennial will be to spotlight existing phenomenon within the city that are less well known outside their own context. These can relate to specific historic sites, to the intellectual and artistic energy of the city, or to future possibilities that are becoming visible now. This project will take various forms from metaphoric maps to tours and travel instructions.
These framing devices will be the organisational principles for the Biennial. While themes or related subject matters may evolve as the Biennial develops, Esche and Kortun also want this structure to allow artists and visitors to draw their conclusions from the unfolding experience of the exhibition.
Charles Esche is director of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and editor of Afterall Journal, London and Los Angeles.
Vasif Kortun is director of Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul.
For further information please contact:
Mr. Ustungel Inanc
Foreign Press Coordinator
Tel: +90 212 334 0757
Fax: +90 212 334 0716
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