Istanbul and Contemporary Art

Art is one of the best and most realistic signs for a country’s standards Today, contemporary art gives the artists the opportunity to express their current condition, happiness and what troubles them in their own way. Now, especially with recent technologic developments country borders are virtually destroyed; it is easily possible to watch and follow what’s happening anywhere on the planet. Also, individuals are travelling more often and therefore have the option to personally experience any new developments.

by Billur Tansel

Art is one of the best and most realistic signs for a country’s standards Today, contemporary art gives the artists the opportunity to express their current condition, happiness and what troubles them in their own way. Now, especially with recent technologic developments country borders are virtually destroyed; it is easily possible to watch and follow what’s happening anywhere on the planet. Also, individuals are travelling more often and therefore have the option to personally experience any new developments. 

Also artists who were considered craftsmen producing their pieces by demand in the old times show a very different profile today; they have a way more respectable position and they present world matters to the cosmos with the universal language of art. Borders that exist through art – also surrounding it – are brought down to destroy the separation of life and art.

In this context, anything can be reevaluated with the approach that assumes art practice and establishments constitute a social sub-system. In this world where people were thrown into against their will, the desire to express a world designed in one’s mind has come to a new level. Now the artists state their determinations and suggestions over this material world.

The ‘cultural curve’ the world entered after the cold war has virtually become a ‘cultural eclipse’ as Ali Artun mentioned in his book ‘Contemporary Art and Culturalism’. Despite the ongoing cultural and artistic events, there’s a artificial, unnatural, dystopic mood hanging in the air. Art, the natural cultural force of people by birth, has evolved to fit in this environment. In this world where everything except the change itself changes, art also bears the responsibility to follow and even be part of this change. Of course some signs of rebellion are observed as well.

Today Istanbul, one of the most important world metropolis’ with its geographically very strategic position, is taking firm steps to become an art center followed closely by the rest of the world. Art merchants and artists tend to prioritize Istanbul as a new location, given the economical crises in many countries. Unlike the neighboring countries, a dynamic and developing society profile supports this longing. Especially in 20th century contemporary art has become an important part of our lives. This art form gives the society very important messages putting environmental and social awareness in forefront. Constantly increasing number of art galleries and museums is a good sign of how this scene is growing. Contemporary art may well be the only medicine of current social problems. 

Billur Tansel *

* We are grateful for this voluntary article written for Istanbul Digital Platform, by Billur Tansel, Lecturer in Yeditepe University Faculty of Fine Arts.

 

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