The theme of the 15th Istanbul Biennial, a contemporary art exhibition held every other year, is ”A good neighbour”. Arranged by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) 16th September – 12th November, the exhibition brings together artworks by 55 artists from 32 countries.
The aim of the event, that celebrates its 30-year anniversary this year, is to enhance dialogue between makers, viewers, curators and critics of visual arts. True enough, through three decades the Istanbul Biennial has managed to create a compact and internationally unified cultural sphere that develops and implements fresh trends in the field.
The event will be held in six neighbouring venues: Istanbul Modern, Galata Greek Primary School, Ark Kültür, Pera Museum, Yoğunluk Atelier, and Küçük Mustafa Paşa Hammam. Its theme originates from 40 questions about neighbourly relations. Is a good neighbour your friend on Facebook? Is a good neighbour someone who collects your mail when you’re on holiday? Is a good neighbour a stranger you don’t fear?
The curators of the exhibition are Michael Elmgreen from Denmark and Ingar Dragset from Norway.
“Your neighbour might be someone who lives quite a different life from yours. And hopefully you, unlike many politicians lately, are not the one who chooses to deal with your fear of otherness by fencing yourself off. The artists in the 15th Istanbul Biennial raise questions about ideas of home, neighbourhood, belonging and co-existence from multiple perspectives. Some of the artworks examine how our domestic living conditions and modes have changed and how our neighbourhoods have transformed, while others focus on how we cope with today’s geopolitical challenges on a micro-level. The Biennial takes its form from the invited artists’ personal or analytical statements: an engaging mixture of hopes and visions, of sadness and indignation, of history and present day”, Elmgreen and Dragset comment