Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011‏


Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011
September 17–November 13, 2011

Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011‏

Organized by:
Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts

The 12th Istanbul Biennial explores the rich relationship between art and politics, focusing on artworks that are both formally innovative and politically outspoken. It takes as its point of departure the work of the Cuban American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957–1996). Gonzalez-Torres was deeply attuned to both the personal and the political, and also rigorously attentive to the formal aspects of artistic production, drawing in part from post-Minimalism and Conceptualism and in part simply from everyday life.

The biennial is composed of five group exhibitions and approximately 50 solo presentations, all housed in a single venue, Antrepo 3 and 5. Each of the group exhibitions occupies its own space, distinguished from the solo presentations via gray walls, and features a large number of artists’ works brought together under a particular theme. Around them the visitor will encounter the solo presentations. Each solo presentation is linked to one or more subjects of the group exhibitions but pushes the themes decidedly further. Artists from every continent are represented, with a specific focus on artistic practices from Latin America and the Middle East.

The unique architecture borrows ideas and forms from the layout of the city of Istanbul as well as from the subtle elegance of Gonzalez-Torres’s work. It is designed by the Office of Ryue Nishizawa. The venue is divided into rooms of different sizes, creating a new structure of continuity and integrity—new interior-exterior relationships, intersections, and layers in the space. Having the audiovisual seduction of walking from street to street, neighborhood to neighborhood, through courtyards, passages, and main throughways, the structure creates its own world and keeps it alive. Visitors are encouraged to become active readers, not just silent recipients, of the artworks presented.

Three major publications accompany the Istanbul Biennial. Two are available now. Remembering Istanbul shares the topics discussed at the conference of the same name, the first pre-exhibition event of the 12th Istanbul Biennial. It features the contributions of the past 11 editions’ curators and four artists, offering a fuller picture and account of this series of exhibitions. The 432-page, full-color Biennial Companion includes interviews between the curators and the participating artists, the curators’ introductions to the group exhibitions, images of artworks by the participating artists, plans of the exhibition spaces, the program of parallel events, and detailed information about the biennial projects.

The Biennial Catalogue, available soon, provides comprehensive information about the participating artists and their exhibited works. It features articles by biennial curators Jens Hoffmann and Adriano Pedrosa as well as the curators and scholars Jessica Morgan, Julieta González, João Ribas, Chus Martinez, and Aykut Köksal addressing the conceptual framework of Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011. It also features photographs of the artworks as installed at the biennial venue.

In the spirit of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who genuinely wanted to make this world a better place and believed that his art could be a catalyst for change, all visitors are welcomed to the 12th Istanbul Biennial.

Istanbul Biennial
Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts
Nejat Eczacıbaşı Binası
Sadi Konuralp Caddesi No: 5
Şişhane 34433 Istanbul
T:             +90 212 334 0764
F: +90 212 334 0705
E: [email protected]