Contemporary Istanbul closed with record visitors and sales
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Contemporary Istanbul closed with record visitors and sales
Fernando Botero, Lovers in bed, 2011. Oil on canvas, 69 x 83 cm. Photo: Courtesy Anima Gallery.

ISTANBUL.- The 9th edition of Contemporary Istanbul closed on Sunday 16th November suppressing sales and visitors expectations with more than 77,000 visitors during the 4 days and 72 percent of all the artworks at the fair sold with a total sales of 67 million Euros.

This year, Turkey’s largest international contemporary art fair, Contemporary Istanbul brought 108 galleries from 23 territories, 520 artists, more than 1000 foreign collectors, art professionals, academicians and 8 different museum groups all around the world under the same roof. The sales will rise above the 30 per cent of the average sales of international trade fairs with more than 67 million euros in sales. This is the highest amount of artwork sold Contemporary Istanbul has had in its 9 years.

Alex Katz's "Red Lines Sunrise" worth €62,000, Yayoi Kusama "Dots Obsession" worth €70,000 and Ergin Inan "World Beyond the Gates" worth USD180,000 were amongst some of the world leading artists pieces sold during the fair. As well, Melissa Mizrakli sold 20 pieces at Emmanuel Fremin Gallery and all the artworks of Slinkachu at Andipa Gallery were sold. Nohlab Musion's' in-ter-sec-tion Rules hologram work was sold during the fair as the highest value new media work sold in Turkey with a value of €35,000.

During Contemporary Istanbul’s Gala dinner, Ali Güreli, the chairman and founder of CI, addressed a speech to the 350 international guests. Ali Güreli explained how Istanbul is getting ready to place itself on the world’s leading art and cultural centers as Paris, London, New York and Berlin. He also drew attention to the importance of globalization enveloping the world and that being only possible with the protection of local values therefore for Turkish contemporary art to get increasingly important.

Fair highlights
Contemporary Istanbul’s newest initiative, CI Editions, offered special editions produced in a limited number. Presenting works by Hale Tenger, Ali Emir Tapan and Bugra Erol amongst others. CI Editions was one of the areas that brought the most interest from the visitors and new collectors. CI Editions is invited to be showcased at international fairs throughout the year.

New Media section, Plugin, brought sound and light installations, interactive and generative art projects, indoor mapping and holographic and video art works for the second year. Highlights included DAM Gallery, Perte de Signal, GRID, Yellow Peril Gallery – Paul Myoda, Akinci and Sedition.

Chinese contemporary art was present in the fair with the Now You See exhibition by Dr. Michael I Jacobs. Presenting a selection of 10 Chinese video art works, this area gave an introduction to visitors and collectors of Chinese contemporary art.

Also CI Dialogues, Contemporary Istanbul conference and discussions program presented panels on China and on the art market. With the title The Other Art: Alternatives. Choices. Options the program, included amongst other subjects, ‘How to collect in the future?’ focusing on the future of collectors and collections; ‘Today vs. Tomorrow Art Economy’ in which Mr Robin Woodhead, Chairman of Sotheby’s International, addressed the importance of investment in art collections; ‘Contemporary Art in China’; the 2nd Istanbul Design Biennial moderated by its director Deniz Ova; and the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia focusing on the Turkish Pavilion. Some other participants on these tables were Emilio Alvarez, Loop Art Fair Director; Horst Diekgerdes, Fashion Photographer; and Francesca Gavin, Curator, Soho House

The 90 Minutes Show, curated by Contemporary Istanbul’s Program Director, Marcus Graf presented a new solo show every 90 minutes in a shipping container-like space. Presenting the works from Ali Emir Tapan, Fani Zguro, Island 6, Gallery on the Move, Ismail Necmi, Ozan Kerem Baykal amongst many others, 90 Minutes Show was a curatorial and artist challenge to assemble, opened, celebrated, mediated, discussed, recorded and dismantle in a very short time frame.

Galleries responses
Michael L. Gitltz from Malborough Gallery in New York said: ‘Contemporary Istanbul is maturing into a truly world class destination for collectors and for galleries. As a visiting gallery, we find the energy and intelligence of the fairgoers very encouraging.’

Emre Kurttepeli, from C24 Gallery in New York agreed: ‘It has been an exceptional fair. The fair has been extremely well attended with lots of international collectors. It has been our third year participating and each year we see a huge improvement in the quality of the audience and the artwork displayed.’

Mary Nguyen from Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York said ‘This year’s fair is extremely electrifying from the collectors, galleries and overall energy. It truly has been a wonderful success and we are happy to be apart of it all’

Sven Purrmann from Galerie Edition Purrmann in Germany described their experience: ‘The fair has become very international, not only the exhibitors but even the visitors are coming from many countries. After seven years taking part as an exhibitor, I can say that it is always a pleasure to be at the fair.’

Valentina Ragozzino from Barbara Paci Gallery in Italy said: ‘I think that every year CI becomes more interesting. The Turkish collectors show their appreciation for the Italian art and sculpture in particular, in which my gallery is specialized. Moreover, thanks to the beauty of the city of Istanbul, important customers from Italy came to visit the fair.’

Collectors responses
Contemporary Istanbul has been building a strong collectors network that have resulted in the presence of more than one thousand international collectors and VIP’s for its 9th edition. Contemporary Istanbul organised a special collectors programme and gathered international collectors from all around the globe. This year, the gala dinner that was held on October 11th will be repeated every year. International collectors stated that they were impressed by the collectors VIP programme and the organization of the fair. The young and new art sections of the fair also drew a lot of the attention.

Sunita Shankar, collector from India agreed: “I found the selection of works successful and I have decided to concentrate on my interest in Turkish contemporary art. Through the selection I have seen at Contemporary Istanbul, I will begin to invest in young artists”.

French collector and collectors group Palais De Tokyo Tokyo Art Club's founder, Susanne van Hagen confirmed: “An excellent VIP program! I can say it is the best out of all the international fairs programs I have participated to. The Tokyo Art Club members were overwhelmed.”

Thierry Fourier, the SIPLEC Director said “Contemporary Istanbul VIP’s program was fascinating. I had the opportunity to meet many interesting people and I was very impressed with the quality of the organization.”

Chris and Lieven Declerck from Art Brussels: “You made our stay an exciting experience. Your entourage is delightful and they are all gathered around one interest. Congratulations on your organization talent!”

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Contemporary Istanbul closed with record visitors and sales

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