Neighbours Exhibition – a kaleidescope of colours and experiences at Istanbul Modern

I beg to differ from Joan Miró who apparently once said:
“Merde! I absolutely detest all openings and parties! They’re commercial, political and everybody talks too much. They get on my tits!”

As I am not in the art business but am passionate about art, I tend to enjoy attending parties honouring museum or gallery exhibition openings in the hope of meeting the artists in person, to chat and exchange ideas, sometimes eavesdrop on conversations and become part of that very creative and colourful community.

I was thrilled to receive an invitation to the January 8 opening gala of the neighbours exhibition at one of Istanbul’s most wonderful museum spaces – Istanbul Modern – that evening being exclusive to museum members and art lovers.

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Perched on the waterfront of the Galata Pier in Istanbul’s Tophane district, this fabulous museum occupying an 8,000 square meter former dry cargo warehouse, has been home to modern and contemporary art exhibitions since 2004.

This particular exposition, I am told, premiers within the 10th year anniversary celebrations, bringing in artists from Turkey and the neighbouring geographies with political and cultural ties, hence the name of the exhibition: NEIGHBOURS.

The gala evening was almost like a carnival, drawing a very high-spirited, energetic and bubbly crowd. It was a joy to mingle with this circle, soaking in their energy, strangers making friends based on one passion – art.

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The Neighbours exhibit transcends culture barriers, featuring installations, digital works, paintings, cartoons, photographs, videos, textile works, performances…focusing on two aspects: narratives and travel – perhaps the two most prevalent means to transmit cultures from generation to generation, from one geography to the next. The artwork displayed allows minds to cross borders and seas, invoking thought and conversation inspiring the visitor to pursue their own creative release in order to respect each others’ societies, beliefs, values and opinions.

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Although I am not certain, I think I did bump into the Georgian artist Eteri Chkadua whose paintings’ extreme clarity and messages almost resemble those of Frida Kahlo. It was the first time I had experienced a live artwork of an artist I admire, Fahrettin Örenli, who lives and works both in Amsterdam and Istanbul. It was a joy to finally see “A Nomadic Tent” by Nil Yalter, a pioneer in the French feminist art movement of the 1970s. This “tent” has traveled from Paris to Germany to Istanbul since its creation in 1973 and I am glad our paths finally crossed. The detail of “overlook” by the Greek artist Pavlos Nikolakopoulos was brilliant and very impressive. Due to the crowds, I did not have enough “personal” space to enjoy Frontier Blues by Babak Jajali, a movie set at the Iran- Turkmenistan border, this one is a “must” watch.

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In fact, although the cocktail was host to such a colourful gathering of guests bursting with a different kind of energy and it was great fun to snoop into conversations, the crowds made it slightly difficult to get a complete overview of the artwork . So a brunch at Istanbul Modern’s exclusive restaurant perched on the water with a view of Istanbul’s noble old town followed by an early “re-tour” of the exhibition is very much in order one coming weekend.

The museum building was more glorious than usual that evening crowned by Sarkis’ “Rainbow”. Apparently it has been illuminating the museum exterior since the evening of December 31, 2013 and will be the first welcoming point for visitors throughout 2014.

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Istanbul Modern is inviting visitors to take photos under the “Rainbow” and share them on social media channels with the hashtag #undertherainbow. Apparently photos sent to Istanbul Modern are to be gathered in a special album on Facebook.

A big congratulations goes to the team – thank you Gulcem for the organization and invitation and well done Çelenk Bafra, Paolo Colombo and Birnur Temel for a wonderful curating job – what a magnificent exhibition.

This exceptional exhibit will be on until May 8, 2014.
Happy visiting

More info is available on the museum’s own website

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Artists whose work are on display:
Abdülcanbaz (Turhan Selçuk), Furat al Jamil, Mounira Al Solh, Maja Bajevic, Sonia Balassanian, Vesna Bukovec, CANAN, Eteri Chkadua, Ana Čigon,
Rena Effendi, Nezaket Ekici, Cevdet Erek, Adib Fattal (Installation by: The Museum of Everything), Mona Hatoum, Hamlet Hovsepyan, Gül Ilgaz, Babak Jalali, Lamia Joreige, Hayv Kahraman, Hatice Karadağ, Sevdalina Kochevska, Pavlos Nikolakopoulos, One Square Meter (A Festival by ACCEA), Fahrettin Örenli, Adrian Paci, Michail Pirgelis, Younès Rahmoun, Yehudit Sasportas, Wael Shawky, Slavs and Tatars, Aslı Sungu, Nasra Şimmes, Burcu Yağcıoğlu, Nil Yalter, Živadinov::Zupančič::Turšič


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