TRACING ORIGINS – The Birth of the Istanbul Biennial

by Anna Zizlsperger

The 14th edition of the Istanbul Biennial SALTWATER: A THEORY OF THOUGHT FORMS opens Istanbul’s art season in September. We seized this opportunity to learn more about the biennial, its history, evolution and strong impact on the city’s art scene. Surprisingly, we found very limited accounts and essentially no comprehensive overview on the topic. Eager to fill in the gaps, we talked to representatives of the organising institution IKSV, previous curators of the Istanbul Biennial, as well as several art professionals and artists – asking them about their personal thoughts, memories and critical responses to the event. With these collective first-hand accounts, we have created an analytical timeline that, along with out exhaustively researched statistical timeline, provides the most comprehensive overview of this influential event to date.