The 11th edition of Contemporary Istanbul (CI) ended on 6th November, having seen strong support from philanthropists, collectors and the public, strengthening the fair’s vision of solidarity at this time. Bringing together 70 galleries from 20 countries exhibiting over 1,500 artworks by 520 artists, the fair attracted a record number of 90,000 visitors with 62% of exhibited artworks sold. Sales included:

Jaume Plensa, White Forest (Lou), €280,000, Galerie Lelong, Paris
Jannis Kounellis, Untitled, €220,000, Galeri Artist, Istanbul
Wolfgang Stiller, Matchstickmen, €130,000, Galerie Mark Hachem, Paris/Beirut
Wim Delvoye, Untitled (Pasion), €110,000, Galeri Artist, Istanbul
Fahrelnissa Zeid, Untitled, USD 100,000, Galeri Artist, Istanbul
Son Seock, 25-RHNO, €38,000, Galerie Mark Hachem, Paris/Beirut
Gülay Semercioğlu, A Sip of Water, USD 50,000, Pi Artworks, Istanbul/London
Christiaan Lieverse, Labiatae, €38,000, Villa del Arte Galleries, Barcelona
Niloufar Banisadr, Voiles aux vents, €25,000, Galerie 55 Bellechasse, Paris

This year, the fair launched the Best Curated Booth Award which was won by Istanbul-based emerging gallery The Pill.

CI Artistic Advisor Marc-Olivier Wahler states:

“There is an identifiable, strong and positive movement over recent years in the Turkish art world that cannot be stopped, and CI has an integral role in this. Art provides a visual narrative and a lens through which our society can be understood through different perspectives. Especially in Turkey and the region, contemporary art acts as a toolbox for mental hygiene and this makes the fair even more relevant on an international stage.”

New dates announced for 12th edition in September 2017


Preview Day: 12th September 2017
Exhibition dates: 13th – 17th September 2017

After a difficult year across the region, CI realises that to position Istanbul as an even stronger hub for culture, the fair has to work even more collaboratively alongside other arts organisations. As of 2017, the fair will take place in the second week of September during which Istanbul will host various significant art events.

Ali Güreli, CI’s Chairman, states:

“We believe our individual efforts will be enhanced by working together and that mutual support during these challenging times is essential for culture to thrive. We hope our combined efforts will create an even stronger date in the art world calendar for Istanbul. Over the past 10 years we have established a market within a sector that has received international recognition. Istanbul has drawn attention as an important player in the art world through the organisation of major exhibitions – the most prominent being the Istanbul Biennial. “


Gallery responses

Moiz Zilberman, Founder, Gallery Zilberman, Istanbul/Berlin
“I believe the number of visitors set a new record and a large number of notable collectors attended the fair. The audience enjoyed the fact that there were fewer galleries exhibiting. I feel quite content with the sales as well as the possibilities for us to meet new and young collectors. Collectors’ Stories was also a great addition to the fair this year.”

Bertrand Scholler, Founding Partner, 55 Bellechasse, Paris
“We had museum directors and individual buyers considering purchasing works from our artists as well as discussing possible new commissions. CI is one of the strongest fairs we have participated in, in terms of quality and number of attendees. We look forward to coming back and love Istanbul. It is of course a very tough time for the whole world, but people from Turkey faced those difficulties in solidarity which we find very impressive.”

Can Yavuz, Director, Yavuz Gallery, Singapore
“This year’s CI has proven that the current political landscape in Turkey has not dampened the spirit and enthusiasm of art lovers and collectors from Turkey and the region.”

Yeşim Turanlı, Director, Pi Artworks, Istanbul/London
“We have participated in Contemporary Istanbul in its 11th year and will also certainly come back in 2017. We have sold various artworks by all of our artists and there was also a lot of engagement from visitors. Notably we sold Kemal Seyhan’s works to a collector from New York and also made lots of other sales, including a work to a London-based and another to Bahrain-based collector. We also met new, younger collectors which I believe is very important.”

Carlos Duran, Director, Galeria Senda, Barcelona
“We are very happy with the response of the city and improvement of the fair. The reduction in the number of exhibitors has proved to be impactful in terms of flow and quality. It is very impressive to see people engaged with creativity and coming to the fair to support art during these turbulent times.”

Yashian Schauble, Founder, ACAF Projects, Shanghai
“This year’s crowd was sophisticated and curious, and enjoyed both our group and solo shows. They were highly intellectual, and I feel very satisfied. Turkish audiences appreciate both the emerging and well established artists exhibited at the fair and this is fantastic.”

Sera Sade, Director, Galeri Siyah Beyaz, Ankara
“Our experience of the fair was perfect. The sales by international collectors has increased dramatically and we have had the chance to meet various new people. We are also very glad and honoured that our artist Ardan Ozmenoglu was awarded with the artist residency program provided by Basu Art Foundation at the fair.”

Suela Cennet, Director, The Pill, Istanbul
“CI has proven to be a very productive and strong fair for us in terms of the feedback we have received. It was also an opportunity to get to know the public and establish a close relationship with local collectors. We are extremely proud to see that we could introduce our gallery at such a short time since we opened 6 months ago. It has been a great motivating factor to continue under the turbulent circumstances.”

Oktay Duran, Founder, Art On Istanbul, Istanbul
“Contemporary Istanbul still proves to be the most vivid example that the public wants to experience art. The fact that tens of thousands of people visited the fair and followed the art and artists also shows the lack of important museums in Istanbul. We hosted thousands of art enthusiasts in our gallery and informed the visitors about the exhibited artworks, as well as made a number of sales. We have participated in Contemporary Istanbul for the last 5 years since the gallery’s establishment and the fair has become an indispensable part of our calendar.”