Contemporary Art Museum auctions off its Collection

on Monday, 18 February 2013. Posted in February, ---2013---

Nejad Melih Devrim Painting Highlights Beyaz Art's March Sale

The news about a large amount of art works to be sold on 17 February 2013 in Istanbul coming from the collection of the recently closed Santralİstanbul Museum of Contemporary Art caused outrage among Istanbul’s art circles in early February 2013. In spite of the strong criticism against it, the sale organized by the auction house Maçka Mezat was conducted at the Sofa Hotel Istanbul as planned.

Prior to the auction artists an art professionals started campaigns and collected signatures trying to stop the sale of the artworks. A group of art critics and curators from Istanbul’s art scene released a press statement accusing İstanbul Bilgi University of “betraying the trust of the art world by putting the works in its collection up for auction.“

Santralİstanbul was founded in 2007 when a power plant located in İstanbul's Eyüp neighborhood was rented to Bilgi University by the government on the condition that the building would be used as an energy museum, contemporary art museum and a cultural and educational center. After its foundation the museum held major and critically acclaimed exhibitions.

However only a few years later, in 2012, several units of the complex, including the contemporary arts museum closed their doors due to a change of ownership of Bilgi University. Shortly after this incident, rumors spread, that the museum's collection was to be auctioned off. The University denied these allegations after hearing the reactions of some artists whose work was part of the collection.

The news about the sale of the museum’s collection came up a year after the museum's closure. Many artists whose pieces were part of the museum's collection condemned the decision made by İstanbul Bilgi University to auction off the artworks. Artists, including Selma Gürbüz, Arslan and Sarkis, noted that they had sold their pieces to the museum at nominal prices, adding their demands for the museum's collection to be kept intact.

The University stated that out of 69 artworks, only four had been gifts or donations to the university collection. The gift and donation artworks included Arslan’s “Arture” and “Auto-portait,” Nil Yalter’s video work “Headless women, Belly Dancer,” and Hakkı Anlı’s “Abstract Composition. These four works were withdrawn from the auction. Lot numbers 19 and 20, an installation by conceptual artist Sarkis Zabunyan, were offered for sale under one lot following the artist's declaration that they were parts of the same installation. 64 pieces from the collection went up for auction.

The leading piece of the sale, Nejat Melih Devrim’s “Abstract Composition,” sold for 1.4 million TL. Devrim's two other paintings, also titled “Abstract Composition,” were sold for 1.300.000TL and 1.100.000 TRL.

The work „Updating ‚KAPITAL’“ by Yüksel Arslan sold for 500.000 TRL, while Devrim's “Hagia Sophia” achieved a result of 375.000 TRL. Canan Tolon’s “Abstract Composition” went to a successful buyer for 95.000 TRL.

Bilgi University stated that the auction primarily consisted of paintings the university had bought and that the artworks have been approved for sale by the Culture Ministry.

Nejad Melih Devrim
Left: Nejat Melih Devrim, Abstract Composition, 1956, oil on canvas, 300 x 200cm. Sold for TRL 1,400,000 (Estimate: TRL 800,000 - TRL1,200,000) Photo: Maçka Mezat
Right: Nejat Melih Devrim, Hagia Sophia, 1948, oil on canvas, 97 x 72cm. Sold for TRL 325,000 (Estimate: TRL 50,000 – TRL 70,000) Photo: Maçka Mezat

Nejat Melih Devrim
Left: Nejat Melih Devrim, Abstract Composition, 1948, oil on canvas, 196 x 130cm. Sold for TRL 1,300,000 (Estimate: TRL 400,000 – TRL 600,000) Photo: Maçka Mezat
Right: Nejat Melih Devrim, Abstract Composition, 1950, oil on canvas, 196 x 130cm. Sold for TRL 1,100,000 (Estimate: TRL 400,000 – TRL 600,000) Photo: Maçka Mezat

Yüksel Arslan and Canan Tolon
Left: Yüksel Arslan, Updating ‚KAPITAL’, 1978, mixed media on paper, 50 x 71cm. Sold for TRL 500,000 (Estimate: TRL 100,000 – TRL 120,000) Photo: Maçka Mezat
Right: Canan Tolon, Abstract Composition, 2003, Rust and Acrylic on canvas, 142 x 123cm. Sold for 95.000 TRL (Estimae: TRL 40,000 – TRL 50,000) Photo: Maçka Mezat

Special Feature Turkey at ARCOmadrid 2013

on Wednesday, 20 February 2013. Posted in February, ---2013---

Searching for Istanbul - Turkish Artists at MAK Vienna

From 13 to 17 February Madrid hosted a new edition of its International Contemporary Art Fair organised by IFEMA. The fair has attracted collectors, gallerists, artists and art professionals from all over the world for the last 32 years. 201 galleries from 27 countries were represented at this very international edition of ARCOmadrid in 2013 with 66% foreign participation.

One of the major attractions of the Fair was the FOCUS TURKEY, a selection of 10 galleries made by the curator, writer and professor, Vasif Kortun and the assistant curator Lara Fresko in collaboration with the Turkish Embassy in Spain. The selected galleries were Dirimart, Elipsis, Maçka, Mana, Nev İstanbul, NON, Pilot, Rampa, Rodeo and X-Ist.

The programme united a wide range of Turkish artists, showing contemporary artistic products from this active emerging market.
Galeri Manâ showed Kutlug Ataman’s seven-channel video installation Mayhem, close-up views of the massive Iguazu Falls between Argentina and Brazil. Ataman created the work in response to the Arab Spring, the images of water flowing upwards and sideways are violent and cleansing at the same time.

Kutlug Ataman, Mayhem
Kutlug Ataman, Mayhem, 2011, 7 channel projection, dimensions variable. Photo: Courtesy of the artist, ARTER and Galeri Manâ.

Servet Koçyigit’s works were with Rampa at ARCOmadrid. His work Sunset is designed as a carefully crafted hand-made lacework reading “Fuck You Sunset.” The language loses ist meaning after a few repitions, yet the production of this work takes so much time that the phrase is constantly recharged with meaning. The cinematic reference might direct our thoughts towards happy endings that did not work out so well in real life.

Servet Koçyigit, Sunset
Servet Koçyigit, Sunset, 2012, handmade crochet, 128 x 218 cm. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Rampa

Yusuf Sevincli’s melancholic yet haunting black and white photographs were on display at Elipsis’ booth in Madrid. Sevincli unpretentiously photographs his environment, his daily encounters, his fears and concerns, like a visual diary, exposing the absurdity of his environment.

Yusuf Sevincli
Yusuf Sevincli , Good Dog 014, 2006. Archival Pigment Print. 50 x 75 cm. Edition of 5, Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Elipsis Gallery.

Pilot featured Bashir Borlakov, known for his panoramic photo series that he has been producing since 2005. His artistic production deals primarily with the concept of “time”.

Bashir Borlakov
Bashir Borlakov, The Dream of Trotsky, 2011. C-print on aluminium dibond, 80 x 235 cm.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Pilot Gallery.

Bashir Borlakov
Bashir Borlakov, The Second Dream of Trotsky, 2011. C-print on aluminium dibond, 80 x 235 cm.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Pilot Gallery.

Turkey’s presence was also reflected beyond the walls of the art fair in the city of Madrid with Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo hosting an exhibition of the artist Halil Altindere, curated by Ferrán Barenblit. La Casa Encendida put on a show with video works by the artist Ali Kazma. The art centre Matadero Madrid featured a group project by several artists including Sibel Horada, Ïz Öztat and Yasemin Nur called „Here Together Now“ organised in collaboration with the Turkish cultural centre SALT

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