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The 12th Istanbul Biennial ended

The 12th Istanbul Biennial organised by the Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts (İKSV) under the sponsorship of Koç Holding ended on Sunday, 13 November.

The 12th Istanbul Biennial - Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011, curated by Adriano Pedrosa and Jens Hoffmann and inspired by the works of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, hosted more than 500 works under five group exhibitions and more than 50 solo presentations in Antrepo 3 and 5.

The exhibition venue of the 12th Istanbul Biennial, hosting five group exhibitions under different themes as Untitled (Abstraction), “Untitled” (Ross), “Untitled” (Passport), Untitled (History) and “Untitled” (Death by Gun) and solo presentations, was designed by the architectural design Office of Ryue Nishizawa.

Since its opening on 17 September, approximately 110,000 visitors attended the 12th Istanbul Biennial, placing Istanbul at the centre of the international art agenda as the largest contemporary art event in Turkey.

• Approximately 51,000 visitors attended the 9th Istanbul Biennial in 2005, 91,000 visitors attended the 10th Istanbul Biennial in 2007 and 101,000 visitors attended the 11th Istanbul Biennial in 2009.

• Koç Holding, the sponsor of the Istanbul Biennial since 2007, will continue its support until 2016, covering the forthcoming two biennials.

• As in the past two biennials, university students visited the 12th Istanbul Biennial free of charge, as the guests of Koç Holding.

• Approximately 5,000 visitors attended the guided tours organised everyday during the biennial. 17 tour guides specifically trained for the Turkish, English, German and French tours worked within the scope of the educational programme of the biennial.

• First time this year, with the contribution of Vodafone, the visitors visited the 12th Istanbul Biennial in 3D with the İKSV Mobile application for iPad and smart phones. iPads provided by Koç/Bilkom at the entrance of the exhibition venue were given to the visitors who wanted to experience the biennial with the İKSV Mobile application.

The biennial was realised with the contribution and support of many institutions from Turkey and abroad.

• Besides the biennial sponsor Koç Holding, Zorlu Center and Hitay Yatırım Holding AŞ contributed to 12th Istanbul Biennial as theme sponsors.

• SAHA, Arçelik AŞ, Divan İstanbul, Polisan Boya Sanayi ve Ticaret AŞ and Özsoy İnşaat contributed to the realisation of the 12th Istanbul Biennial.

• Many international institutions including Ford Foundation, US Department of State, Mondriaan Foundation, British Council, the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a major contribution to the realisation of the 12th Istanbul Biennial.

• The Companion of the 12th Istanbul Biennial, which includes interviews between the curators and the artists, presentations of the exhibition themes with full-colour photographs and the Remembering Istanbul book were published by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts and the Yapı Kredi Publishing, with the contribution of the Vehbi Koç Foundation.

• Banvit AŞ, Canan Pak, Ford Otomotiv Sanayi AŞ, Grupanya İnternet Hizmetleri İletişim Organizasyon Tanıtım ve Pazarlama AŞ, Koçtaş, Polimeks Holding, Sema-Barbaros Çağa, Tekfen Eğitim Sağlık Kültür Sanat ve Doğa Varlıkları Koruma Vakfı, Türk Henkel AŞ, and United Colors of Benetton contributed to the biennial as special projects sponsors.

• In addition to the institutions stated above, the 12th Istanbul Biennial is realised with the contributions of 21 leading business institutions as biennial supporters.

• The 12th Istanbul Biennial is also supported by the Promotion Fund of the Prime Ministry and the Culture and Tourism Ministry of the Republic of Turkey, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, and Beyoğlu Municipality.

• The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts official sponsors are the leading sponsor Eczacıbaşı Holding; the official airline Turkish Airlines; the official communication sponsor Vodafone; and the official carrier DHL Express.

• Jon Sueda from Stripe has undertaken the publicity campaign and publications of the 12th Istanbul Biennial.

Apart from the exhibitions of the 12th Istanbul Biennial, which were open to public for two months, many special projects were realised since 2010 and three different publications were prepared.

• The conference “Remembering Istanbul” conducted in November 2010 and which looked back at the history of the Istanbul Biennial with the participation of previous biennials’ curators and artists, was transformed into a book with the same title. As the first publication of the biennial, this book became available for purchase at the exhibition venue, İKSV building and bookstores on 15 September, 2011.

• A special programme was prepared within the scope of the Istanbul Biennial in collaboration with the Istanbul Film Festival celebrating its 30th year (2-17 April, 2011). In this cinematic preview of the Istanbul Biennial, Untitled (Film), 10 movies relating aesthetically and politically with the theme of the biennial were featured. Parallel to this section, a panel was held with the participation of William E. Jones (Director of the 1991 film Massillon) and Patrick Watkins (Editor, casting director and stage manager of the 2000 film La Commune (Paris, 1871)).

• The colourful Biennial Companion including interviews between the curators and the artists as well as the presentations of the exhibition themes was sold at the exhibition venue, İKSV and bookstores. The Companion was given free of charge to 12B Unlimited and Biennial Plus ticket holders.

• The Biennial Catalogue including installation images as well as six new essays focusing on the exhibition topics will be published after the biennial. The Catalogue including essays written by Jens Hoffmann and Adriano Pedrosa, Jessica Morgan, Julieta Gonzales, Joao Ribas, Chus Martinez and Aykut Köksal on the conceptual framework of the 12th Istanbul Biennial, as well as photographs of artists’ works from the biennial venues, will be available for purchase at İKSV and bookstores soon.

The education programmes organised for children, art teachers and young artists within the scope of the 12th Istanbul Biennial attracted a lot of attention.

• The children education programmes of the Istanbul Biennial organised with the collaboration of İKSV and PACE under the sponsorship of Koç Holding, were received with great interest by young art lovers. Over 1,000 children between ages 6-14 participated in the children education programmes during the biennial.

• Within the scope of the 12th Istanbul Biennial, an education programme especially prepared for art instructors was realised with the contribution of the Vehbi Koç Foundation. More than 100 art instructors working in primary schools, vocational high-schools and high-schools in Istanbul participated to the education programme led by archaeologist and museologist Mine Küçük, aiming to increase interest and knowledge among the art instructors, to contribute to the enrichment of their visions. The instructors who participated in the programme then visited the exhibition venues accompanied by Mine Küçük and a guide.

• Within the scope of the biennial, an education programme was held for young artists from Turkey with the collaboration of Beliner Künstlerprogramm/DAAD, in 24-27 October. The biennial artists Florin Tudor, Nazım Hikmet Richard Dikbaş, Martha Rosler and Cevdet Erek, realised workshops at İKSV, where biennial works were discussed and contemporary art talks were held. Following the workshops, a panel was organised on 27 October, with the contribution of Istanbul Bilgi University Art Management Department and the participation of the biennial curator Jens Hoffmann, Director of Berliner Künstlerprogramm/DAAD Visual Arts Department Ariane Beyn and the biennial artists.

The 12th Istanbul Biennial was the centre of attention of world art circles and international press.

• Almost 4,000 art professionals, including critics, curators, museum and gallery administrators from international art communities and up to 700 foreign press members from Turkey and 50 countries visited the biennial in the preview days. About 6,000 foreign visitors in total attended the Istanbul Biennial in two months.

• Art critiques from leading newspapers and magazines such as International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Economist, The Daily Telegraph, Le Monde, Liberation, Les Echos, Le Point, El Pais, El Mundo, ABCD, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Tagespiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt, La Repubblica, Il Sole 24 Ore, NZZ, Tages Anzeiger, Folha de Sao Paolo, Estado de Sao Paolo and O Globo were in Istanbul for the biennial.

• Foreign critiques and press members from art magazines such as Art in America, Monocle, The Art Newspaper, Frieze, Art Review, Bidoun, Canvas, Flash Art, Domus, Monopol, Tate Etc., Art Monthly, Kunstforum, Le Journal des Arts, Modern Painters, Vogue attended the biennial and shared their impressions with the readers.

• The news and comments about the Istanbul Biennial were widely reported in world’s media. The Independent, one of the highest circulation newspapers in the UK, gave place to the “art calendar's most enticing event – above even Venice” comment of Glenn Lowry, Director of New York’s MoMA, in its 14 September issue. While in the article published on 15 September in the International Herald Tribune, Susanne Fowler announced the 12th Istanbul Biennial with the title “Simplified and secretive biennial, political at its core”; Fiachra Gibbons of The Guardian mentioned that “this year’s biennial already hailed as Istanbul’s best” and that it “shows the rise of Istanbul as a cultural power” in his article on 21 September.

• Besides administrators, curators and collectors from the world’s foremost institutions of contemporary art, including MoMA, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Carnegie Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New Museum of New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Guggenheim Foundation and Centre Pompidou had the opportunity to closely examine the works in the 12th Istanbul Biennial and meet the Turkish artists.

The 13th Istanbul Biennial will be realised once again with the sponsorship of Koç Holding from September 14th to November 10th, 2013.