Ahmet Polat for The New York Times – Istanbul
The New York Times Magazine
Photographer: Ahmet Polat
Gaffer-D & Photo Production Service Turkey
The core of Istanbul’s art scene coalesced in the ’80s and ’90s through the efforts of a few prominent figures, including curators like Ali Akay and Beral Madra, the artist Halil Altindere, and the SALT director Vasif Kortun, pictured here in the SALT Beyoglu space. Hansen writes that for most artists, Kortun, 53, is considered “the father of Istanbul’s art world.”
“It’s not a revolution,” Kortun said, referring to Istanbul’s current phase of cultural production. “It’s a correction.”
One headlining young artist on display at SALT Galata during its opening was Tayfun Serttas, pictured here. Serttas’s exhibit featured thousands of carefully assembled old black-and-white photographs taken by a dead Armenian studio photographer.
According to Serttas, art was taken more seriously 10 years ago. “We used to process everything on a much more intellectual and conceptual level,” he says.
“Turkish contemporary art runs the gamut of mediums and ideas. Some argue that there’s nothing distinctively Turkish about Turkish art; for a long time Turks were taught to imitate the West,” Hansen writes. Young Turkish artists have experimented with new media, including video.
Here, a visitor experiencing Turkish artist duo mentalKLINIK’s video installation “Whiff” from the 2011 Istanbul Biennial.
A visitor arrives at a party for Galerist, one of the first professional galleries in Istanbul.
The Istanbul Modern