13th Istanbul Biennial: Have you found what you were looking for?

SD_2013Biennial_HalilAltindere_Wonderland_8687Halil Altindere, Wonderland, 2013


If there could have been only one piece at the 13 Istanbul Biennial, foreign guests would choose Halil Altındere’s “Wonderland.” The video is not exclusive to the event, and has been previously shown in Istanbul’s galleries. International journalists and art professionals present at the exhibition’s preview formed a long line to watch the art piece, as if they came just to see it.



Halil Altindere, Wonderland, 2013


Halil Altındere has proven in the past what a brilliant commentator on Turkish contemporary culture he is. One of his previous works, “The Monument to the Illegal Street Vendor,” which depicts an African vendor selling fake Louis Vuitton bags on the pavement, is a prime example of his talent. “Wonderland” is directed as a hip-hop music video starring young ‘gangsta rappers’ from Sulukule neighborhood of Istanbul. It is a modern, and prophetic, take on the consequences of urban regeneration projects in the city. Having debuted in February 2013, “Wonderland” highlights the long-term results of planned urban developments and the resulting anger, as the country witnessed several months later with the Gezi Park protests.



Halil Altindere, Wonderland, 2013


The interest in Altındere’s work suggests that the Biennial audience was looking for pieces commenting on local contemporary issues. Whether those expectations were met is something for attendees to judge for themselves. The exhibition might have opened quietly, but people’s power of interpretation may keep it on everyone’s lips for a while.



































Guilaume Bijl, SUSPECT, 1980-2013


The 13th Istanbul Biennial is open, free of charge, from 10.00 to 19.00 every day except Mondays. The exhibition venues will be open on Monday, September 16 for the opening week.

Antrepo no.3

Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi

Liman İşletmeleri Sahası

34433 Tophane, Beyoğlu


Galata Primary Greek School

Kemeraltı Caddesi No: 49

34425 Karaköy, Beyoğlu



Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi

İstiklal Caddesi No: 211

34433 Beyoğlu


SALT Beyoğlu

Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi

İstiklal Caddesi No: 136

34430 Beyoğlu



İMÇ 5.Blok

5533 Unkapanı

5533 will be open every day except Sundays.

Tahribad-ı İsyan, hip hop group from Sulukule, which performed in Halil Altindere’s video, will take the stage at Salon IKSV on Friday, September 27 at 21:00. 



Nathan Coley, Gathering of Strangers, 2007

For more images of selected artwork from 13th Istanbul Biennial, see our Facebook page.

Photos: Servet Dilber for İKSV

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