Where to get your art fix in Istanbul this November Contemporary Istanbul

Where to get your art fix in Istanbul this November

Feeling artsy and want to know what's on? Venture through Istanbul's best artistic exhibitions this month

Even though the 14th Istanbul Biennial just finished its two-month run, there’s no shortage of art in the city. Istanbul is teeming with temporary exhibitions that are just waiting to be discovered. Whether exploring larger museums or smaller galleries, art lovers are sure to find something to whet their appetite. We’ve put together a list of exhibitions where you can get your art fix this November.

Contemporary Istanbul

contemporary-istanbulContemporary Istanbul

The region’s premier art fair and a fixture on the Istanbul art scene, Contemporary Istanbul is returning to the Istanbul Congress Centre for its 10th instalment. Over 100 international and Turkish galleries will be displaying at the fair, which runs from November 12-15. This year Contemporary Istanbul will have a special focus on art from Tehran, a city with a rich visual arts scene that has only recently been gaining international attention and acclaim. Whether you’re in the market to buy or are just interested in discovering new-to-you artists, this massive fair has something for you. contemporaryistanbul.com

Istanbul Biennial exhibition at the Istanbul Modern

istanbul-modernIstanbul Modern

I can already hear you wondering aloud to yourself, But I thought the Biennial was over? While the 14th Istanbul Biennial – a far-flung event that was staged in an unprecedented number of venues – closed its doors on November 1, the organisers decided to extend the Biennial exhibition at the Istanbul Modern until November 26. With impressive installations by artists such as Sonia Balassanian and Aslı Cavuşoğlu, the museum is host to some of the best Biennial works. So even if you weren’t able to have the full Biennial experience, you can still get a taste for the various themes that were explored in this city-wide event. iksv.org

Related: 5 museums not to miss in Istanbul

ZERO: Countdown to the Future at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum

ZERO todayszaman.com


The fall/winter temporary exhibition at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, which runs until January 10, explores the trajectory of the ZERO movement from its founding in Düsseldorf in 1957 to present day. What began as a response to the stagnant and negative atmosphere of the post-WWII era has managed to maintain its relevance and dynamism as a movement into the 21st century. The exhibition displays work made by its founders including Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker, and important artists of the 20th century such as Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni and Lucio Fontana. Taking its name from the countdown to a rocket launch, the ZERO movement aims to transform conventional notions of art, and this expertly-curated exhibition illustrates the ways in which this endeavour has been a success. www.sakipsabancimuzesi.org

FOTOISTANBUL: The Lives of Others


The Beşiktaş Municipality has put together a surprisingly comprehensive and nuanced look into the lives of others with its photography exhibition of the same name, which runs until November 8. The participating artists hail from all over the region and beyond, allowing for a wide range of perspectives. For instance, Iranian artist Azadeh Akhlaghi photographs the dead in a theatrical and almost surreal manner that exposes the shock of the present, while Lela Ahmadzai documents the lives of four women in Kabul, Afghanistan. In addition, the organisers seem to have taken a page out of the Biennial’s playbook by staging the exhibition in multiple venues spread out over two neighbourhoods, Beşiktaş and Ortaköy. You will find yourself exploring shipping containers on the Beşiktaş waterfront and an old Jewish orphanage in Ortaköy; in fact, visiting these venues, which have either been constructed specially for this show or are rarely open to the public, is almost as big of a draw as the artwork on display. www.fotoistanbul.org

Related: Istanbul neighbourhood guide

Bare, Naked, Nude at the Pera Museum

barek-naked-nudePera Museum

If your interests lie in painting or Turkish art, this is the exhibition for you. The Pera Museum, which can always be relied upon to stage relevant and compelling exhibitions, will present the work of various Turkish painters from the late 19th and early 20th century who attempted to overcome cultural resistance to artistic representations of nudity. In addition to challenging perceptions of the female body and the nude form, these artists were also struggling with the transition from being a ‘subject’ of the Sultan to becoming an ‘individual’ in the Turkish Republic. Opening on November 25, ‘Bare, Naked, Nude’ sheds light on this fascinating time of upheaval and transformation. www.peramuseum.org

1 Contemporary Istanbul
2 ZERO: Countdown to the Future at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum
3 Bare, Naked, Nude at the Pera Museum