Les acteurs de l'art contemporain à Marseille et à Istanbul
par Fanny Roustan
Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III, IMPGT - Master 2 de Management des Organisations et des Manifestations culturelles 2009
I Panorama historique
1. La scène artistique contemporaine en Turquie des origines à nos jours........................8
2. A Marseille............................................................................................15
II Le rôle des institutions publiques dans l'art contemporain
1. Ressources nationales...........................................................................18
2. Ressources internationales........................................................................43
III Les ressources d'origine privée.....................................................................51
1. Organisations à but non lucratif...............................................................53
2. Les galeries commerciales.....................................................................56
3. Les musées privés................................................................................58
Interview Apartman project.............................................................................71
Interview Kasa Galeri....................................................................................81
Interview Contemporary Istanbul......................................................................84
By Michela Dawe and Fanny Roustan.
Michela Dawe: First of all, I would like to start from the meaning of the expression "Artist in Residence". Can you give me a definition of this expression?
Öyku Özsoy: I think we discussed about this before, it depends on the object of the institution, how they create this programme and what is their aim...I mean I can start from Platform's point of view, our main aim, way and when we initiated our artist residence programme. When you think about the contemporary art history in Turkey from 1980s it started after the military dictatorship, it started with the private banks galleries and the only support of contemporary art started to come from private organizations, banks etc. Also Platform was founded by the Garanti bank under the social responsibility programme. From the 1980s and on, especially with private galleries, Galeri Nev, Maçka Sanat, Galeri Appel, supported lots of young Turkish artist and then it shifted to the bank gallery, and some art institutions were again supported from the companies ...of course each of them has a different vision or different opinion about how art institution reflects the situation in its own location. For Platform, when we initiated the residency programme, the main aim with the artist archive was to create a kind of research centre, open to the international and also local researchers and curators and with the residence programme give a chance to local artists to communicate with the international artists that came to stay in Istanbul. And also while hosting the residence's artists in Istanbul, to give them an opportunity to be inspired from the city and to communicate with the local art scene and the city itself, and also to benefit from this time period being in a different environment, in a different geography, and produce new works.
Because of this, we usually don't accept established artists. Instead we are more into having young or artists in the middle of their carrier. So this is the main aim of the residency programme, it was initiated in 2003, after that in 2005 and on, we initiated an additional component into the residency programme that is the residency exchange. This time it works with jury. The artists from turkey go to different organizations, in different residency programmes, mainly in Europe unfortunately. Because it's important to create a movement in the region but it depends on the funding. The artist from the host institution are coming to Istanbul and coming to stay in Platform.
MD: Platform Garanti Residence Program was born in 2003. How and with which criteria the artists are selected? Along the time has the way to manage the programme changed?
ÖÖ: First of all we have a kind of flexible structure, which means that with different institution, we have different contract and different agreement. Because we are not straight about the rules of the residency...we don't have a kind of rules but more flexible but we can say we have two-three different selection process. With some of the institutions, they are selecting the artist and then send him to Platform, we are not doing nothing about that...the other one, collaborating art institution, they make the open call and then make a short list, send the portfolio...and we compose a jury, including people representing Platform but also art critics, curators, artists, or sometimes people from different disciplines. And we are making the final selection. And sometimes, we are just telling to the institution which artist we would like to have here for a specific project. These are the three selection process. But of course we initiated this programme in 2003; it's been the sixth year now, so we've learnt a lot. With the new building we are going to change the residency programme structure. Right now, we have nine studios. In the new institution, we will have fewer studios, maybe four or five studios. At the moment, the residents are staying between three or six months but with the new institution, the artists will stay longer and they will be selected or invited for specific project and work for this project. We are going to negotiate with the institution that we have collaborated so far and if they agree, we are going to invite the artists directly for the project.
MD: Which relationship is established between the artists and the workers in Platform Garanti during the residency? What are the benefits for both the parts? The outcomes?
ÖÖ: First of all, we are talking about contemporary art in Istanbul and in Turkey. We can't ignore Platform. You can't think about the contemporary art scene without Platform because it is the most important institution. How we are supporting the artists and how it's work. I am always saying that we are flexible and we are kind of saying yes to almost everything. And so for the artists that come to Istanbul, first of all we have a huge resource centre archive and they can reach all the information not only about the local artists but also on the international publication. Secondly, we have a good contact with the local art scene plus the international art scene, so depending on their interests and research, we initiate a kind of communication between the artist and the people who might be interested in his or her project. We are creating this meeting point or connecting point for them. And also we are supporting them for their project. We are giving the artist studio, accommodation, for their project sometimes assistance, technical support. But the most important thing is... we are not a production residency, we are not forcing the artist to do something at the end of the residency. It depends on their motivation and depends on their rhythm. When they come to Istanbul, for most of them, it is the first time. So we are giving them some maps, some orientation, then they are totally free to discover the city. After a while, after one month, one month and half, we are asking them if they would like to meet us and then we just talk about if they have any ideas in their mind, starting a project or continue a project they are already working on.
So we are kind of invisible figure around the artist, not all the time there, but if they need us we are there to help them.
For the local art scene, Istanbul is a hot spot for the last few years for the contemporary art scene. People interested in contemporary art are still a small group. If you go to the exhibitions' openings or to the talks, you can see the same faces all the time. It is really small and close inside. A big problematic is that all the art institutions are around Istiklal street that is only three kilometres... If you go in the Asian side, no artist institution! For example, when I was in Italy we just moved to all the cities and you can find something everywhere, artist studios, art institutions, artist-run spaces, but here everything is just concentrated on Istanbul, and it is close unfortunately. Usually, people who are in the local art scene are just involved in their small problems, having same agreement between each other but not in the global or worldwide problems or questions. So maybe by having this artists' talks, and conferences or open studio also give the chance to the local art scene to communicate with the people who are coming from different geographies, different cultures, and also experienced from other art practice and also reaching each other art practice in a way...
MD: What about the general audience?
The general audience is mainly made of young people following the contemporary art exhibition and talks, from the academies and private university. But I think that still in their mind when they think about art they are still thinking about sculpture thing and some conservative art... I mean when they go to the art exhibition they want to see that they can recognise and they can understand it. In contemporary art, all disciplines are just melting into each other; it's a kind of process of experience. It is scary for them, so when you are scary from something you want just to run away. It's hard for people to get into the art institutions. Like when we were in the other Platform building and making exhibition we were lucky because one million people, especially in the weekend, were passing by, in front Platform's doors and if there is something interesting they were coming in, some time staying one minute sometimes two hours, depending on their interest. But I agree that we don't have that kind of mission, teaching people contemporary art. No, only bringing some programme. If they are interested in, they can come and experience it, and we can try to explain if they have questions.
MD: Do you think there is a lack of communication, in using different media to reach people?
ÖÖ: Let's think about what will be the way of expressing yourself. There are some tools. For example media like newspapers, magazines, advertisements, etc. First of all, when you think about the local media in Turkey, again their interests are totally different from Platform's interests, you can hardly get information about exhibitions or talks or conferences of Platform in the local newspapers or magazines. More than local media we are better known in international media in fact. Because there is not high qualified art critics in Turkey, there are some, very few. I don't know if you had the chance to check out the art section of our newspapers, in the most read one the art section is half a page and mainly about who is dating with who in the art scene, this kind of paparazzi news, but not critical and serious articles. The other one, the other most popular one between the art crew is Radikal. They have two pages, but again they have a different situation so it is hard to reach this people who are writing about art, their interests are totally different from ours. The second thing we are using is the mailing list, and between international and local in total we have ten thousand people in our mailing list. With Garanti Galeri, we combine these two lists, and usually, when we make general announcement, we reach around twenty thousand of people... But you see our crowd it is like maybe the maximum are 60 or 80 people coming. On Thursday, we are going to have a meeting with our PR department and we are going to talk about these problems. Once, we were thinking to create a kind of friendship between the university's students and Platform, like having some stand in the university, creating a kind of club in the university and just organizing some events for the students, some exhibitions, some workshops, something specific for them. However we are under staff, at the moment there is me, Vasif, Pelin and Meriç only four and some interns. I mean we need one person or two people who will be interested and work on PR strategies for the institution, and we are working on it, but we know about the lack of communication between Platform and the public. And also again we can't force anybody to come to Platform, we need to create a kind of philosophy about the programme. Of course some of our exhibition and programme were quite interesting like «open library» for three month, it was quite interesting, and it was really successful. But some of the exhibitions were not that good enough for us as well, or some of the workshops, but we are trying to develop new strategies for that period.
Fanny Roustan: For the selection process you said you go always through institutions, did it happen that an artist come directly to you with his file?
ÖÖ: No it happens sorry, thank you to remind me. Also the residency programme is open to the independent applicants. The whole residency programme works with international funding. None of the support comes from the Garanti bank, we are raising the funding to support the residency programme. So, because of that, the independent applicants have to raise his or her money for the accommodation, for living expenses, for the studio fees, for the production expenses, we are helping them only for to meet the local artists, introducing them to the art scene, but not with financial support. Sometimes, we have the chance to support totally an artist. For example, once an artist from Lebanon and she lived for three month in Platform and we covered all her expenses. Also for the exchange programme, again sometimes, we create our funding by ourselves for supporting Turkish artists. But mainly independent applicants have to find the funding.
FR: Do the bank that found art institutions get any economical benefits like tax reduction? or is it only to benefit from a good brand image?
ÖÖ: Yes they have tax reduction. If they support art, they have tax reduction. Most of the companies were supporting the Istanbul Biennial before, but after the 2000-2001 they started to open their museums, like for example Pera Museums, Istanbul Modern, Sabancý Museum. All these big companies and private organizations open their own art intuitions and get tax reduction. Besides, instead of supporting other projects they prefer to create or open their own programme under their name...I mean they are using it for their advertisement.
FR: Are you fundraising from other companies?
ÖÖ: For our programmes, not only for the exhibition, also for the residency and other programmes of Platform, we can't fundraise through other Turkish companies. We can only fundraise from Garanti Bank. But for the international fundraising, we don't have that sort of restriction, we can apply to all the international funding organizations, art organization, state organizations, or from the cultural department of the consulates, we can apply to all the international bodies, but not from Turkish ones.
Apartman Project's coordinator/curator
Fanny Roustan: What do you think about the contemporary art situation in Istanbul?
Serra Özhan: For the last few months let's say half a year, there is a lot of small things going on. People are not organizing themselves ... Like two people come together and open a space, that's quiet new for Istanbul. I kind of follow what's going on but I think we need much more than this because we are all going on quite separately from each other. For example, two weeks ago we had an exhibition at Imç 5533 and we were all the artist-run places. It was more like a kind of documentary. Except Mental Klinik and Ura, all the artist-run places were there, and we started to discuss with each other and we realized that two or three of the spaces may close down if they don't find funds or become an association, or a foundation or anything else... Most of them don't own a place although they look like owning one, they are just like active groups or artists. For example Hafriyat is in big trouble.
FR : Do you think that there is a lack of cooperation between all the cultural institutions in Istanbul ?
SÖ : There is no exchange. We have found out that we can be all together. Normally we don't gather all together, even for the openings. Although it is a very small community, we don't find a support for what's going on in the openings. Most of them don't show up.
FR : Do you think there is a competition among you ?
SÖ : Kind of. When you look at the spaces opened by very popular artists in the early 90', there was already an existing competition between them. But now, when I think about Apartment project, created by Selda Asal, she rapidly understood that she had to give up the place to young people, and to become a kind of supervisor.
FR : What about the new kind of structures like Santral, Modern Istanbul ? They are kind of competing each other.
SÖ : It's been a while that I've lost my interest in them. I used to work for Modern Istanbul during 1.5 year, and it was during the 9th Istanbul biennale. At this time, the biennale curator was Roza Martinez, it was her second time like a curator in Istanbul but there was more action like Pompidou or for example MOMA, like more in change or really good programmes in Santral.
FR : So you don't have any contact with them at all...
SÖ : I'm not even trying to follow ! It was giving a hope of having a really really good residency programme that they organised at first and they turned back. It was a really good motivation for the place and the others as well. That's it I mean I guess they will get half of the money for 2010, the cultural capitale thing.
FR : Where you here at the starting point of Apartman project ?
SÖ : No, I'm the one who turned it into an association. I arrived like 1.5 year ago like how to say, a kind of « employee », but I've known Seda for 2 years quite closely. She mentioned some potential collaboration with the EU, and that we can all apply for a fund, the European culture fund. And she started to develop some contacts with others, not only art institutions, but with other more established institutions, for example one in Slovenia, one in Berlin. They made some meetings and they all came to Istanbul to the meeting and they figured out at that time that Apartman project was the only one who wasn't in collaboration with the EU. So after that, we started to build all the bureaucratie of all this. We didn't know this before, and Seda didn't know at all that she needed to give up the independent place, and having a place running itself on its own. The problem was that we had to found an association; otherwise the EU wouldn't support us. Because it is an obligatory thing, so we had to find out how to do that.
FR : What are they expecting from you ?
SÖ : A lot of things ! In fact, we sign a contract but you write it on your own, it is a 3 years agreement that we did. Every year, you have to give them a report plus an accounting report. But for a year, they don't control to whom to where you send the money. Actually, when you look at the contract that you wrote yourself, what we promised to them, to our partners: the basic stuff. We always provide a place to stay if an artist comes, we give him a room from the residency programme that we provide, and a free space for them to use. But normally we never provide them any other support like for example buying drinks etc. This is always bought by the artist itself. We also share our PR network. So what is expected is that every year, we have to invite two or three artists from our partner institutions. We are eight partners from different countries. Not only them, we also invite others but we have to invite them as well. And as I told you, we provide them the accommodation and stuff. Besides, we cannot give the money to our own internal project, like the one we are doing now, because we didn't include it in the contract. We hadn't plan this project when we made the contract, but it would have been good now to have included it...
FR : So the funds for the Apartment project comes from the EU, and the funds for the other projects, where do you find it ?
SÖ : For example, for our next project, we applied to open society and to Istanbul 2010. We are still waiting from Istanbul 2010 like anybody else... So yes we have to figure it out. It doesn't need much budget but we need to cover the travel expenses, we travel by low-cost, the accommodation won't be expensive, the production cost won't be much because there won't be any installation or anything like that, and we all know how to make a budget as small as possible (laughs).
FR : Do you have some private funding ?
SÖ : Sometimes, depending on the artist. For example, sometimes we ask some sponsors to lend the technological equipment, like Becko is sometimes our sponsor. And sometimes, for the drinks for the openings, we ask an alcohol company. But that's not all the time.
FR : What is the internal organization of Apartman project ?
SÖ : So there is me, and Seda. And sometimes, some temporary volunteers, and always some stuff like that. But now, with all the association bureaucratie, we have to have a structure, so at least an accountant, and someone dealing with all the stuff, and a kind of coordinator. For now, I'm doing everything...
FR : You are the only official employee...
SÖ : I'm the only one who takes money from the EU funds (laughs)!
FR : What about the residency programme ?
SÖ : We publish an open call on our website, one year before for the next year. It is a call for applications. First, we thought that everybody would fill the application very clearly, with purposes, and images; that's what I expected normally but euh... they were very unbelievable actually! They were writing in their application « Oh I'd like to go to Istanbul, it would be great » ...
FR : So how did you select them ?
SÖ : We have a small team, but underground team you know, it is not officially a board because it changes sometimes. So we ask what they want to do in Apartman project, if they have already done something in the Apartman project because it is also working at the network level, and I kind of feel like it is a gang, some have their own crew in a way. So I collect all these datas in a folder of course by knowing that some of them will be chosen. So a maximum of three of them will be selected from the applicants of the open call because apart of that, we always have some things going on on the networking level. So we cannot say no to the people that we meet by our network who we know will make a good project, so we give the priority to these people. And then the empty spaces are for the open call applicants.
FR : For the applicants of the open call, what are your criteria of selection ?
SÖ : It goes through sessions, I mean I never say yes after just one proposal. We always explain what is the dynamic of this place and we ask whether or not they are aware of what is the dare aware of what is the dynamic of this place and whether or not they want to be related with the trip or with the place itself. We really want to know whether or not they are aware of the dynamic of the place. I don't know what's going on with the other open calls but I find it a bit particular let's say, that's why I expect them to know exactly what we are doing in a way.
FR : But you don't have an expectation from them, like doing something during their stay.
SÖ : If they come and stay in our residency for free, we hope that they won't make only a couple of research but make an artwork, or a seminar, or an event, or an exhibition or whatever. Otherwise, we just rent the flat for a certain amount of money. For example, sometimes, people come from Platform and stay here and pay the rent.
FR : Do you also provide the artists with a studio ?
SÖ : It is a flat with 4 rooms and a living-room. 2 rooms are bigger than the two other ones. We have basic things like wireless connection; it is not like real studios, especially for painters it is a bit small for them to paint in it.
FR : How do you inform people about what you are doing ? What are your means of communication? Is it all through your website?
SÖ : For openings and such events, we inform by emails, we have a mailing list. I used to believe in the idea of Facebook but then I stopped following what is going on so I thought maybe we have to come back to our old means of communication! (laughs) We never send invitations, we don't produce invitation cards on our own, but the artist can , and if he produces some flyers then we distribute around the area.
FR : OK, because I noticed it rarely goes outside the network, it is always the same people, at the openings you always see the same faces... I wonder if something is done to get the public in.
SÖ : After the general connection, you get the public or not. If the artist is making a project, or if he partially involves a university let's say, it is a different crowd, there are more students, not necessarily artist students but also students from different fields as well. But apart from that, we cannot make any effort to reach the public.
FR : Can you tell me the weak point and strong point of your project ?
SÖ : The weak point is that we need to develop further to make it better and to build an active team, a young team. They don't have to be like real employees, but they have to have a good motivation to be part of apartment project. That's the main thing that we have to deal with. But there has to be a motivation. Because it is unbelievable to invite for example students for volunteering in a place that doesn't have a system in itself. So there has to be something going on regularly, and so you can say things like ok two days you come three days we come and so on. But imagine, we don't have an office! So the place can be closed for a while. The artists are responsible to open the space so it is like there is no need for a volunteer to open the space and to inform the visitors. This is the kind of things that I would like to develop. In the artist place, there is a free room, so we are going to make an office. The other thing to do is an archive, like documentary place about the artists that we have, from the media works to the printed documents. That can be a good archive, and not only for the artists, but something open. Something like Platform archive would be good. That's a good archive about the Turkish artists and what's going on in Turkey. If we can archive our international artists, this can be good archive as well. For some, we've done it, but it is not very much yet.
FR : What about your strong point ?
SÖ : mmmh... well it is way better from other groups (laughs). I found it better than in many other art initiatives. I'm really in good contact with few of them so I know how they work and do the selections and most of them have a worse structure. And the place! It is a very good location. But at the same time it can be a weak point, sometimes i'm thinking maybe we can let the place open late in the night. Now we open after 4:30 (pm), but it could be later. So yes the place. And also it is the first artist-run space, I've been lucky for that. It isn't something new so we don't have to deal with the public, PR and stuff. People already know it.
FR : Do you have any plans for Istanbul 2010 ?
SÖ : Yes we applied for that. I work in a very good connection with the artists. We were talking about the archive, we are in contact with the artists to collect many of their works, we try to collect as much as possible to make the archive. It is something that will bring to Istanbul other networks from other close regions.
FR : What do you think about the ambitions of Istanbul 2010 ?
SÖ : Well, I've never seen something concrete yet. The funds are not given yet. They need to reply the applications, they are really late now, because they are also involved in some projects for 2009 that are related with the projects that are gonna happen next year. But for 2009, we are in the third month and still haven't got any funds. It is all about supporting, so where is the support? And all the gossips and the news say that there are some people quitting their job because of the lack of communication among them. Like the board doesn't talk with them but just give them orders.
FR : What is your next project here ?
SÖ : It is a lightning, it is gonna open on 24th of March.
FR : Is it possible to have a annual balance paper or a budget of your project ?
SÖ: As I told there was no official things going on before we became an association, nothing written on the paper apart from the calculation that Seda would be bring at home (laughs). But I can explain you. For the space, the only thing we pay is the electricity. There is no rent because it is owned by the artist, and there is no rent for the residency it is owned again by the artist, and the rest is almost all paid by the artist itself. There has been no budget going on. But maybe after the association, we will get paper or something.
FR : What kind of relation do you establish with the artist ? Do you let them live their life and then show their work at the end, or do you provide a full assistance?
SÖ : If they need help, especially when it is a foreigner, we help them. Now since I have been coordinating the place for nine months, I am going to see what's going on, if everything is all right, but like if they need everything, any further help, then i try to help them. But I remember that sometimes Seda was going for some programmes abroad, imagine, the artist had to do the opening on its own (laughs). But they have their own key; we keep the copy keys.
FR : How long are the residencies ?
SÖ : Usually we say that you can stay as you want but then if the programme is very full, we say you can stay for the preparation let's say 1.5 month, let's say from one to three if there is no further production for the artist.
FR : So how many artists do you have in a year ?
SÖ : This year, three Turkish artists are scheduled one after the other, that's why we do not provide any residency for them. Then, there is one from Berlin, making a screening. By the way, we just started to collaborate with Babylon150(*), Babylon provides us the space for performances or screening. For the first time, we did it in the Lounge Babylon, and we did the publication of this, but we sold tickets. The income of the evening was split between Babylon and us. But at the time, there has been a kind of correlation, i've been quite surprised. We are the first two venues that opened on that street, Babylon and Apartment project. They were the initiator of the gentrification so they could have collaborate more, but this time it happened and it was really good. We will have a selection of screening of short movies, and we'll show the screening in Babylon Lounge, but a kind of preview will be in Apartment project. This is at the end of April. And then in summer we'll have some artists in residency from our partners. Now the flat is full, three people are staying, one art student from Holland, one Croatian photographer who came for a research for ten days, and the other is a writer for a art magazine and he will stay for four months making research.
Fanny Roustan : On the Asian side I just found you working about contemporary art or visual art! I think you are kind of unique here.
Oya Yalçýn: Yes that's right! Actually, we are two people here. We are doing every kind of work, but my colleague is mainly working as the editor of the Kargart magazine, and I try to mange all the other stuff. I am working alone and it is a lot of work.
FR: How do you explain that you are the only place making contemporary art on the Asian side? Why everything is concentrated in Beyoglu?
OY: Maybe it is about the culture of the Asian part. People always ask that but there are also places here but not for contemporary art. I mean Karga Bar is giving us a big support, that's why we can still be independent and support independent artists and many students. Nazim Hikmet art center supports some artists but... I think it is about Karga bar. Karga bar has been here for 12 years and it is a very well-known place, that's why we have also a music approach through them. People like here very much, they associate Kargart with Karga Bar.
FR: How do you reach the public? Is it mainly through the bar?
OY: We have 3500 people in our mailing list, and I'm always mailing them. That's the main thing I think, and also our website www.kargart.org . There and in the mailing list, we make the open calls. But they can also reach us. They come here and read the folders, leave their CV. We also have a kind of artist mail list. That's the way it works.
FR: Are you working with other institutions?
OY: Yes. I arrived two years ago so I can talk about the last two years. For example, we work with the Istanbul Independent Film Festival, we are screening their short films here; or we collaborate with university cinema clubs, they come here and make some screenings. It changes, it depends on the time. Sometimes, we also work with Amnesty International; it is a project-based partnership. We can work also with some other independent art initiatives like video initiatives. It depends, they come here, they look at the project and we see if we can work together or not. We are always open to all independent art initiatives.
FR: What kind of people is coming here? Are they mostly students or artists?
OY: Yes, mostly students who are studying in any art discipline, but also artists.
FR: On the international level, do you have any relations with other institutions?
OY: Yes. We can also invite them. It doesn't have to be an institution; it can be also a person. But of course, it is about money... If we have money, we can collaborate on other projects from any foreign country. We did an international exhibition last year. There were some students from Italy, England, and Slovakia. It was done thanks to the curator of the exhibition who was student in Austria and found the other students. It works like this sometimes.
FR: What about money? Where does your budget come from? Is it again connected with the bar?
OY: Yes but we have also some kind of events where we can sell tickets, like stands-up, concerts or workshops. The budget comes mainly from that. Karga Bar also supports us. We don't have someone working for fundraising right now, but we need someone for this, because I don't know how to get money from the institutions! We definitely need a person for this! Sometimes you can have some project-based partnerships with let's say the British council that can support you, but I haven't had this opportunity yet. Or Goethe institute as well. They can give you some money; it all depends on the project.
FR: What about the local institutions, like Kadikoy municipality? Somehow do they subsidy you?
OY: It can be. We are in contact with the municipality. They can lend you some material. They give money to big projects, I guess. But you know it always depends on the elections, and political stuff...
FR: Is it possible to have your balance sheet or your budget?
OY: I will ask to my colleague, because he is the one working about it.
FR: what would you say about your weak and strong points?
OY: Like I said, we need a person to follow the sponsorship. But I think it isn't such a weak point because that way, we can still remain independent. We can do whatever we want; in that sense it isn't a weakness. But yes sometimes we want to invite someone who agrees to come, but we can't find money. Like in the video festival I had invited a very important lecturer but we couldn't find the money so he couldn't come. It can be a big deal sometimes and the power of here at the same time.
FR: What is your opinion about the contemporary art scene in Istanbul?
OY: With that Istanbul 2010 project, everything goes crazy! But it is improving I think. Istanbul is a very interesting city and all the international relations are getting stronger; at this point, it is getting better.
FR: Do you have any project for Istanbul 2010?
OY: No we don't have a project. I haven't had time for this. We are waiting now; I don't know what is going on their side. You know all the projects are remaining without answers, I know some people who gave projects to Istanbul 2010 and they are still waiting.
FR: How do you think it's going to be?
OY: I really don't know... We will see. There are just 9 months left, it is very soon!
Kasa Gallery's administrative affairs responsible
Fanny Roustan: Could you tell me about the creation of Kasa Galeri and why Sabancý University decided to found a gallery?
Aslý Çetinkaya: Actually it started with the story of the building itself. Sabancý University was established in 1998. In 1999, they started their first campus in this building. This building is one hundred years old, it is quite old, it used to be a bank, you can see all the counters. They started working here before moving to the huge campus they have now on the other side of Istanbul. Actually, we were part of the programme of the university, opening an art center for social sciences and having a faculty for visual art and a communication and design programme. And some well-known artists, who have been also the main instructors at the university, thought that it would make an interesting space for works of art and shared their opinion with the board of the university. So it took shape at the very beginning of the university. It is basically an extension of the faculty. It is very different from Sabancý museum. It is quite independent, it belongs to the university but it is a little bit different. It started as a small gallery with a small budget within the faculty. So actually, at the beginning it was the motivation of a couple of professors.
FR: Now what is your relation with the university? Is it only financial?
AÇ: What we are trying to do is to keep this space as a gallery, at least to keep the image of a gallery, independent of the university because we do not for example make exhibition for the graduate students of the university. This a gallery independent from the university but on the other hand connected to it through the budget. In the exhibitions programme of the coming year, we still work with these two artists-professors. On the other hand, we put some rules or let's say principles, not to make the audience confused. It is a university gallery not in the expected sense. There is another gallery on the campus, but it is totally for the students' works. It'd been ten years now and there hasn't been any student exhibition here. It can happen that one of the ex-student of the university is part of an exhibition, but it is always after he or she is graduated and worked some time.
FR: Is it something common in Istanbul that universities have their own gallery?
AÇ: It happens. For example Bilgi University has Santral Istanbul, but I don't know their attitude towards this. It is more than a gallery; it is a museum, a big space. And they had a nice gallery, it was called Bilgi 111, it was a big one on the Asian side. They were showing quite interesting works there but it closed. It was also something in a sense really risky because when you give up after a year or so, it is very disappointing especially in a city like Istanbul. It disappoints people, but it often goes like that, it is really disappointing for the artists and the audience. There was also the Marmara triennial. It was a student organization from Marmara University. It was an international event, first in the corridors of the university, and then they used the Pera museum. It started as a small event and became bigger.
FR: In general, what do you think about the contemporary art situation in Istanbul?
AÇ: I think it didn't evolve in a similar way as it did in the West. Somehow, it feels like it is imitating, taking over some results from there but you know the story is completely different. For example, this Istanbul modern museum was founded by a rich person, and the collection belongs to private people. The driving forces are different here. Now I feel it should be more popular. Being a contemporary art collector is becoming tricky, and it has no strong story or background. I feel this trend will slow down. A couple of years ago, artists were initiating some places. There are still places like this. Those things got very hype and trendy during a period. But it is difficult. In Istanbul, if you survive ten years, then maybe you can have a grant. Now, it's again the turn of galleries and collectors. The galleries try to convince the people to be collectors. I think that's the main point. Now there are more galleries again, like in Tophane...
FR: the usual places...
AÇ: I think that after Istanbul Modern opened in 2005, it got a little bit wider than Istiklal Street, just a little bit but I guess this type of event helped to see other places in Istanbul.
FR: Do you think that the international art market is interested in Turkish artists?
AÇ: No, I don't think so. Mostly, it is up to the foreign and Turkish curators. How much they can present there, how much they can comment about artists here... There are some kind of options and other financial stuff, and I still haven't got the idea behind actually. But some are interested into the Middle Eastern art production. The biennale is an opportunity, there are a lot of professionals from the art world who visit the biennale, and they may see some good stuff. And at this period, a lot of things is happening in Istanbul. It's a kind of big meeting, and a chance to present something.
FR: Is it one of your objectives to bring abroad Turkish works?
AÇ: No. We don't make much effort for this. But, with the university, we are member of an international organization, the BJCEM151(*), which gathers young European on Mediterranean artists under thirty-five. It's a big organization, which organizes a biennale in many disciplines of art. Each member country presents participants. There is a ten days festival. The last one was in Puglia, in Italy, and the next one is going to be in Skopje, Macedonia. As a member, we make a call and then a selection among the applications, and then bring their works there. This is the most crucial thing we do to present Turkish artists to an international public. Besides, from time to time, we try to invite artists from abroad. But being internationally active is not one of our «missions». According to the proposals or invitations, we try to do it as much as our budget allows it.
FR: What is your opinion about Istanbul 2010?
AÇ: (laughs) It's going to be a huge event. Everyone is active for it. So it is not easy to control it, and to defend everything. If I was working there, I would be very strangely helpless because it is such an event and such a budget, and many proposals, and many people involved. You can't say it's easy. We may see some very nice things and other not very well organized. It is a very difficult thing to put a general adjective about it. It is too big; it is not possible to present it as a package.
FR: Do you think it will have an impact on the artistic environment?
AÇ: Most probably. I don't have any plans about it but I'm curious to see how it' going to be. For our gallery, the best would be to invite some isolated artist from abroad, or institution who experienced this kind of culture capital thing, they could share their experience. If we had applied for a grant, maybe we can offer a flight to a major artist, who would be normally out of our budget. In this time of crisis, we'll have a cut in the budget. But we will still be able to do our five or six exhibitions a year. But I wonder how they will do in big places like Sabancý museum, where they exhibit Picasso, Dali... It will be difficult to produce such events. You know, time of crisis is more dangerous for big institutions and galleries than spaces like here. When you make a two million euro budget exhibition and your budget is cut by 10%, you cannot do the exhibition anymore. The spaces with a smaller budget are more flexible. So I think that Istanbul 2010 is a good thing but I don't want to give a formal opinion.
Contemporary Istanbul art manager assistant
Fanny Roustan: What role plays Contemporary Istanbul on the contemporary art scene in istanbul ?
Özlem Ünsal: Contemporary Istanbul, stanbul Bienali'nin gibi Türkiye'nin, stanbul'un sanat ortamýnýn dýþa açýlan yüzüdür. Sanat fuarlarýnýn ortak özelliði, galerilerin satýþ yapmalarý gibi gözükse de aslýnda fuarlar bir meeting pointtir. CI'da bu özelliði taþýmaktadýr. 2008'de 48.000 kiþinin gezdiði CI, yabancý ziyaretçilerine Türk ve çevre ülkelerin çaðdaþ sanatýný tanýtmayý dolaysýyla Türk sanatçýlarýn , bu bölgenin sanatýnýn bir Avrupalý'nýn evinde/müzesinde asýlmasýný, galerilere bu networkingi sunmayý amaçlamaktadýr. Öte yandan kurumumuzun adýnda da anlaþýlacaðý gibi stanbul'un marka deðerini yükseltemekte ve tanýtýmýný yapmaktadýr.
FR: Is it easy to sell abroad Turkish works ? Why the international market isn't so interested in Turkish works ?
ÖÜ: nternational marketin Türk sanatýyla ilgilenmediði söylenemez. Türk sanat tarihine baktýðýnýzda Oryantalizm'den beri Batý'nýn ilgisi olduðu çok açýktýr. Türk çaðdaþ Sanatý ise yurt dýþýnda yeteri kadar tanýnmadýðý için bugün bir Çin çaðdaþ sanatý noktasýnda deðidir. Fakat Sotheby'sin düzenlediði müzayede oldukça ilgi çekici olmuþ ve iyi bir ciro yapmýþtýr. Son yýllarda Batýlý kolleksiyonerlerin Türk çaðdaþ sanatý gibi emerging marketlera yöneldiði görülmektedir ve bunda ekonomik kriz kadar, kolleksiyonerlerin Batý sanatýný tüketmeleri ve yeni eser arayýþlarý önemli bir pay teþkil etmektedir. CI'ýn sloganý olan « the new art destination » da bu duurmun bir göstergesidir. Yýllar öncesinde sanat sadece Batý'nýn yapabileceði bir þey gibi gösteriliyordu, sanat sadece Paris'te, NYC'da yada Londra'da öðretilebilirdi, globalleþme ile birlikte bu durum tamamen deðiþmiþtir, artýk sanatýn tek bir merkezi olamayacaðýný Batý da kabullenmiþtir ve bu anlayýþla kolleksiyoneler Türk sanatý, Hint sanatý, ran sanatýna yatýrým yapmaktadýrlar.
FR: How do you select the participating galleries ?
ÖÜ: Bununla görevli bir seçici kurulumuz var, CI'ýn en önemli kýstasý ; katýlýmcý galerinin çaðdaþ sanat eserlerini/sanatçýlarýný temsil etmesi.
FR: What is the intellectual content of the fair ? Is there any theme ?
ÖÜ: CI her yýl bir konsept belirliyor ve mümkün olduðunca buna göre bir çalýþma stratejisi geliþtiriyor. CI'08 in temasý, istanbul'un aslýnda kent kültüründen gelen bir sanatsal tavrýnýn olmasýydý, buna baðlý olarak, raklam çalýþmalarýmýzý bu temada planladýk ve iStanbul sokaklarýndaki rastlantýsal geliþmiþ ama bir heykel/ enstalasyonmuþ gibi duran objelerin fotoðraflarýný kullandýk.. CI'08 den en çok akýlda kalan sanatçý Burhan Doðançay'dý mesela, çünkü bir oto lastikçi dýþ duvarýný resmine taþýmýþtý.. CI'09'un temasý da cosmopolitlik.. bu temanýn iþleneceði konferanslar yapmayý planlýyoruz..
FR: Do you think you managed to attract the public to the fair ? How do you proceed for it ?
ÖÜ: Ulusal ve yabancý basýndan ciddi bir destek görüyoruz, TR'nin ençok okunan gazete/dergileri ve tvleri bizim basýn sponsorumuz.. Yabancý dergilerle de barter çalýþmalarý yapýyoruz. Ayrýca güçlü bir PR ajansýmýz var. Facebook da yarattýðýmýz CI sayfasý da halka ulaþmak için iyi bir araç oldu bize.. ayrýca her ay yayýnladýðýmýz Contempo'yu da (newsletter) elimizdeki kapsamlý datayla paylaþýyoruz.
FR: What is the internal organisation of Contemporary istanbul ? Is it possible to have an organigramme ?
ÖÜ: Türkiye'de « sanat fuarý » yeni bir kavram, doðal olarak bu konunun eðitimini almýþ insan sayýsý da az.. bizim genç ve sanat eðitimi almýþ bir ekibimiz var. Direktörümüz Emin Mahir Balcýoðlu, Aða Han Vakfýnda uzun yýllar çalýþmýþ ve bir çok müzenin kuruculuðunu yapmýþ birisi.. CI'ýn organizasyon þemasý temel olarak, galeri (yerli - yabancý) iliþkileri, PR& marketing çalýþmalarý ve lojistik üzerine kurulu..
FR: Who finances Contemporary Istanbul ? Is it possible to have the budget or the annual balance sheet ?
ÖÜ: Sanat Organizasyonu yapmak ve bunu dünya standartlarýnda yapmak maliyetli bir iþ ve CI'ýn tek geliri galeri stand ücreti, buna karþýn gideri çok fazla.. bu baðlamda sponsorluklara ihtiyaç duyuyoruz. Sponsorluk þemamýz, ana sponsorluk, sponsorluk, basýn sponsorluðu ve ayni sponsorluklardan olu°uyor. Akbank PB ana sponsorumuz.
Résumé : Les villes de Marseille et d'Istanbul répondent à deux systèmes totalement différents quant à la gestion de l'art contemporain, et cela notamment par l'origine des ressources dont bénéficie les acteurs de l'art contemporain.
A Marseille, même si l'on peut trouver des galeries privées et des lieux artistiques vivant de financements mixtes, la plupart des financements proviennent de fonds publics. Ce sont vers les institutions publiques que se tournent les artistes, galeries associatives, centres culturels ou autres initiatives. On assiste à la collaboration des institutions publiques avec la société civile.
A Istanbul, les institutions publiques s'intéressent uniquement aux événements artistiques qui ont pour conséquence la promotion de leur pays d'un point de vue touristique. De grands mécènes et entreprises assurent la survie de l'art contemporain dans les lieux renommés, et pallient ainsi l'inertie de l'Etat en matière artistique contemporaine. Pour le reste, les artistes s'organisent entre eux et ouvre leur propre espace indépendant, se dirigeant de plus en plus vers les possibilités de soutien financier dont dispose l'Union européenne.
Ces différences proposent deux visions bien distinctes d'un système de l'art dans deux villes méditerranéennes en pleine expansion culturelle, toutes deux prochainement capitales européennes de la culture.
Summary : The cities of Marseille and Istanbul present two systems totally different concerning contemporary art, in particular because of the types of funding from which the actors of contemporary art benefit.
In Marseille, even if we find private galleries and artistic places living from mixed funding, most of the funding is issued by the public sector. Artists, associations, cultural centers and other spaces turn toward the public associations to get grants. Thus, public institutions and civil society collaborate.
In Istanbul, only artistic events generating the promotion of Turkey from a touristic point of view catch the eye of the public institutions. Rich patrons and firms insure contemporary art subsistence in famous places and thus compensate for the absence of the State in regard to contemporary art. Besides, the artists are establishing their network and opening up artists-run spaces, step by step heading towards the opportunities of funding offered by the European Union.
These differences offer two visions of the art system in two, artistically speaking, flourishing Mediterranean cities, both of them soon European capital of culture.
RAPPORT DE STAGE
* 150 La salle de concert située dans la même rue.
* 151 Biennale des Jeunes Créateurs d'Europe et de la Méditerranée.