Shahzia Sikander at the 13th Istanbul Biennial

Shahzia Sikander travels to the 13th Istanbul Biennial and speaks with four fellow artists and a two-person design collective about their projects. “There’s so much within the art world that happens by word of mouth, by engaging, by making a connection,” says Sikander. Artists address not only the concepts that underlie their work, but also the public protests in Gezi Park and Taksim Square—also known as the Gezi Resistance—that began three months before the Biennial opened and impacted its organization. Sikander discusses the palpability of social unrest in Istanbul and describes an “energy and anxiousness” that would occasionally erupt. Diego Bianchi, Gülsün Karamustafa, Basim Magdy, Hito Steyerl, and RAAAF (formerly known as Rietveld Landscape) are also featured in the film. The 13th Istanbul Biennial was on view September 14–October 20, 2013.

Artists in this Episode

Diego Bianchi
Featured

Diego Bianchi

B. 1969, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lives and works in Buenos Aires
Gülsün Karamustafa
Featured

Gülsün Karamustafa

B.1946 Ankara, Turkey
Lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey

Basim Magdy
Featured

Basim Magdy

B. 1977, Assiut, Egypt
Lives and works in Basel, Switzerland and Cairo, Egypt
RAAAF
Featured

RAAAF

Est. 2006, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; formerly known as Rietveld Landscape

Shahzia Sikander
Host

Shahzia Sikander

B. 1969, Lahore, Pakistan
Lives and works in New York, New York, United States
Hito Steyerl
Featured

Hito Steyerl

B. 1966, Munich, Germany
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Images

Credits

Artist to Artist Created & Produced by: Ian Forster. Director: David Howe. Editor: Morgan Riles. Cinematography: Murat Otunc. Additional Cinematography: Amanda Long. Sound: Mert Aksuna & Ian Forster. Assistant Editor: Stephanie Andreou. Music: Pinch Music. Images Courtesy: Eda Elif Tibet. Artists: Diego Bianchi, Gülsün Karamustafa, Basim Magdy, RAAAF (formerly Rietveld Landscape), Shahzia Sikander, & Hito Steyerl. Thanks: Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Fulya Erdemci, & SALT. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2013. All Rights Reserved.

About the Istanbul Biennial

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts has organized the Istanbul Biennial since 1987. Presented in Turkey’s largest city and an important hub for arts and culture, it is one of the world’s most prestigious biennials promoting the work of contemporary artists from Turkey as well as other countries. Organizers of the event favor an exhibition model as opposed to a national representation model. Fulya Erdemci, a curator and writer based in Istanbul, was curator of the 13th Istanbul Biennial, which she titled Mom, am I barbarian after a quote from Turkish poet Lale Müldür’s book of the same name. Her concept revolved around notions of the public domain as a political forum. The Gezi Resistance, a major event in Turkey’s history, began three months before the opening of the Biennial and would lead to the withdrawal of artists' installations from urban public spaces as not to contradict the “essence and purpose” of these artworks or obstruct the "creative and participatory demonstrations" that were already taking place. All artwork was moved indoors. The 13th Istanbul Biennial brought together eighty-eight artists across five venues: Antrepo no.3, ARTER, Galata Greek Primary School, SALT Beyoğlu, and 5533.


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