Istanbul hosted opinion leaders from the realms of art and architecture at the “City and Culture” Conference organized by Contemporary Istanbul
On September 19th opinion leaders from the realms of art and architecture discussed the changing infrastructure of megalopolises
Contemporary Istanbul, the premier art fair of the region which will open its doors this year to art lovers on November 24-27 2011 under the main sponsorship of Akbank Private Banking and Zorlu Center as the associate sponsor, added one more event to its projects organized throughout the year while expanding its multi-facetted role in the field of culture and art. The “City and Culture” conference organized by Contemporary Istanbul was held on Monday, September the 19th 2011, at Kadir Has University, in the honor of the Istanbul Biennial.
Ali Güreli, Chairman of Contemporary Istanbul said at the opening speech: “As Contemporary Istanbul, we are organizing several new projects throughout the year, in the aim of promoting contemporary art in Turkey and Turkish contemporary art to the world. While Istanbul is transforming fast, it has become the city considered as an art center. The fact that it has been a cosmopolite city throughout its history, and is the economic center of the country playing a crucial role in Turkey’s recognition in the international arena, is differentiating Istanbul from the other global cities. We are excited to host the pioneer names in art, culture and architecture in our “City and Culture” conference that we have organized in the honor of the 12th Istanbul Biennale. We will continue our efforts to make Istanbul one of the capital cities in the field of contemporary art.”
The morning session “What makes a city a cultural hub?” was discussed by a panel of experts featuring the art theorician Anna Waldmann, contemporary artist that represents Turkey in 2011 at the Venice Biennale Ayşe Erkmen, and contemporary artist and sculptor Elisabeth Ballet. During the session the art advisor Anna Waldmann stated her thoughts about Istanbul as a city of art and culture: “I came to Istanbul about eight or ten years ago for one of the Istanbul Biennials. What an extraordinary difference a decade has made to this amazing city. I think it was a transformative decade for Istanbul and Turkey. Its art and cultural institutions have multiplied and are now everywhere, its curators and artists are visible in Europe, North America, and Australia, international curators are keen to come to Istanbul and include Turkish artists in their exhibitions.
In the afternoon session “The Role and The Importance of the Architecture in the City Culture” was discussed and the keynote speech of session was delivered by the world-famous architect Jacques Herzog, Founding Partner of Herzog & de Meuron, recipients of The Pritzker Architecture Prize and designers of the the National Stadium Beijing, the Main Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China; and Tate Modern in London, UK.
Jacques Herzog stated that architecture has often helped put a city on the global cultural map and continued as follows: “What really makes a difference between cities is not so much that they have a more or less beautiful opera house or a more or less successful opera, but what a city really needs is to carefully develop its cultural roots, to develop a bottom up strategy for cultural life that attracts and feeds a community of artists, collectors, sponsors, and other culturally interested locals so that cultural life in a city becomes a real thing and a serious factor in the social life of a city. That’s why sometimes smaller cities like Basel can have a tremendous quality in the cultural offering and cultural life because it has been there for decades, for centuries even, and has really become part of how social life is working. This is a difficult effort for politicians to understand and to realize because short-term success is easier to achieve through the construction of a new museum wing than through initiating a process of socio-cultural transformation.”
The architecture session featured panelists such as: the 2010 Aga Khan Architecture Prize Winner, the architect Emre Aralot, Francine Houben form Mecanoo Architects, Hans Hollein, one of the designers of the Frankfurt Modern Art Museum and one of the founders of Hans Hollein Architectural firm and the architect of Turkey’s highest building, Sapphire project, Murat Tabanlıoğlu from Tabanlıoğlu Architects.
The conference ended with the closing address of Dr. Johannes Odenthal, the artistic director of Akademie der Künste that organizes conferences together with Contemporary Istanbul since 2009.
The sixth edition of Contemporary Istanbul will take place from 24th to 27th of November 2011. As the most extensive contemporary art fair in Turkey, Contemporary Istanbul aims to promote the cultural and artistic life of Turkey.
For five days, Contemporary Istanbul is hosting national and international galleries, artists from all over the world, collectors, museum directors, curators, art critics, members of press and art lovers at Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Center and Istanbul Congress Center. And in addition to the main event, Contemporary Istanbul is organizing through the year several side events and art projects such as conferences, exhibitions with the aim of contributing to the country's contemporary art development.