During lunch it had started to rain. We were sitting with a view of the water and could see the seagulls flying by, in big chaotic groups that were somehow organised and coordinated. We left Istanbul Modern by bus.
And went to Istanbul Santral, a former power plant. The site where the museum is located is very impressive. The large factory still stands and the space around is open, little buildings on the terrain contain a gallery space and cafe’s.
We meet at the museum Basak Doga Temur and Aysenur Akman, two of the curators of the museum. They work with a group of some 20 people at the museum and most of them do different things in the organisation. This former power plant was reopened as a museum in 2007. It has two different functions: there is the museum of energy and a large space for art exhibitions. In the power plant they have educational exhibits but might also organise performances there or arts and science exhibitions.
The current exhibition is a large solo of the artist Yüksel Arslan, a Turkish artist who works and lives in Paris. This is the first retrospective of his work. The curators and guide explain that Arslan is an intellectual, in the sense that he reads and writes incessantly. He makes drawings, not only in his notebooks, that accompany what he reads and thinks. These drawings are displayed in a chronological order. Chronological not by date of creation but by theme, by defining moments in the artist’s life.
The drawings are very detailed and political and you get the feeling that you step into someone else’s head, his universe and ways of seeing the world.
The museum works very closely together with the students from the adjoining university. They design the publicity campaigns, for example, or work with the museum staff to create exhibitions.
After this visit to Istanbul Santral we went by bus back to the hotel. We had 15 minutes to change for the reception at the Dutch Consulate. There was a large crowd or art professionals at the reception and we exchanged ideas, cards (of course) and plans to be in touch when we got home. Around 7:30 we walked from the Consulate to an opening at Outlet Gallery with works by Servet Kocyigit.
From there it was only a short walk to Gallery Non where we saw work from Güneş Terkol.
It was really interesting to see some young gallerist and their artists, especially after having visited three large institutions. And then, around 9 o’clock, time for food for some of us and time to get some rest for me 😉
– Maaike Lauwaert