Home Magazine Contemporary Istanbul: 2020 edition

“I have always preferred the winter to the summer in Istanbul,” Orhan Pamuk wrote in “Istanbul” (2005), his famous autobiographical novel. So, it might have been a lucky choice to postpone Contemporary Istanbul’s 15th edition to this Christmas period. 

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This edition of the fair will in fact take place online from December 21 to January 6, 2021 and it will be a finely curated prelude to the physical edition that will happen in spring 2021. 

Again to quote Pamuk “I love the early evenings when autumn is slipping into winter, when the leafless trees are trembling in the north wind, and people in black coats and jackets are rushing home through the darkening streets”: this year during the fair, we will not see people going around Istanbul in “black coats”, but for sure we will be able to picture the beautiful and vivid Turkish city through the poetic eyes of the writer and by exploring and discovering the galleries’ content online. 


Contemporary Istanbul 2019. Exhibitors page.


Istanbul has always been a treasure chest in concerning art and culture and the fair is a excellent example of this energy. Contemporary Istanbul – ic – is indeed a young and international art event that brings exciting emerging projects from all over Europe and overseas during every edition. For this 2020 digital edition the number of galleries is diminished to truly focus on the quality and on special projects: the selected ones come from South Korea, Germany, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK, Turkey of course and USA. The 2020 edition of Contemporary Istanbul strongly believes that the plurality of actors within the art system - galleries, collectors, artists, art lovers - need to strengthen relations in the region by organizing international events and programs.

Along with the display of artworks, the fair team created interesting projects such as Collector’ Stories - a project bringing together artworks of 60 highly regarded collectorsandfollowed by a professionally produced book under CI Publications – and “Plugin Istanbul Section”, a section focusing on new media and digital arts. The latter “creates a platform which fosters interaction with one another to update and transform the current status of contemporary art by creative interventions and to add-on to the conventional format of an international art fair”. Curated by Esra Özkan, Plugin Istanbul Section was firstly created last year and then largely improved for this special digital edition of 2020. 


Ci Contemporary Istanbul, Plug In Istanbul.


Contemporary Istanbul does not deal exclusively with the art market: thanks to its director Melih Ismail Inan, the fair acts as a showcase and an incubator for emerging ideas on the Turkish and International art scene and its shifting dynamics.

While waiting to phisically have the chance to get to “the city of ruins and of end-of-empire melancholy” (“Istanbul”, O. Pamuk), let’s enjoy virtual.contemporaryistanbul.com


Cover image: CI Contemporary Istanbul.

Written by Rossella Farinotti

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