Breaking from Tradition:
Contemporary Istanbul 

Breaking from Tradition:<br>Contemporary Istanbul 

September sees a flurry of major art and culture events in Istanbul. The city has become a hotspot for new talent in recent years, with showcases like Contemporary Istanbul – running 19-22 September – providing a platform for local artists to show work alongside international galleries. This year, the leading art fair is located at a new venue: Tersane. Historical Ottoman-era shipyards provide the setting for 65 galleries from around the world to showcase their collections. There is a huge variety to see at the 17th edition, with 558 creatives exhibiting photography, installation, sculpture and painting. We highlight four to know.

Rakesh Patel | Iram Art Gallery

Sculptor Rakesh Patel is best known for installations created from found materials and e-waste. Growing up, Patel’s family business specialised in hardware and scraps – it was this way of life that inspired him to mix media and create experimental artworks. Shown above is God is in my courtyard, a monumental and eye-catching installation somewhat reminiscent of Louise Nevelson. Unlike Nevelson’s monochrome walls, however, this sculpture pops with colour: a celebration of reds, oranges and pinks.

Melis Buyruk | Leila Haller Gallery, Dubai and New York

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) defined evolution as “descent with modification”, highlighting the constant cycle of adaptation and change in nature. Turkish-born artist Melis Buyruk (b. 1984) draws on this theory to create new ceramic habitats for depleting flora and fauna. Densely-packed porcelain frames respond to extinction, reflecting the artist’s desire to “create spaces where all species live together without hierarchy.”

Clement Valla | Akbank Sanat

Clement Valla is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work blends photography, sculpture, software and the internet. As part of Contemporary Istanbul, Akbank Sanat showcases PointCloud.Garden, a collection of 3D scanned gardens presented as raw point data. Valla adds “new dimensions” to flowers, tree trunks and grasses, encouraging us to stop, pause and reconsider our surroundings in a greater level of detail.

Hassan Hajjaj | 193 Gallery, Paris

“I use clashing colours because it makes me feel something. I remember reading, in a western magazine, that there are certain colours that don’t ‘go’ together, I disagreed.” Hassan Hajjaj (b. 1961) has been named the “Andy Warhol of Marrakech.” Bold portraits combine elements of visual culture from Morocco and London, depicting bright repeating patterns, brand names and recognisable fashion logos.

Contemporary Istanbul | 19-22 September

1. Hassan Hajjaj, Alia Al Senussi Bikin’, 2016. (193 Gallery, Paris)
2. Rakesh Patel, God is in my courtyard, Iram Art.
3. Melis Buyruk, Habitat, 2022 porcelain and 18k gold, 101x101cm. LEILA HELLER GALLERY

4. Clement Valla, PointCloud.Garden.
5. Hassan Hajjaj, Alia Al Senussi Bikin’, 2016. (193 Gallery, Paris)