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This September, Istanbul plays host to ARTINTERNATIONAL and the Biennial to showcase some of the most exciting modern and contemporary art from around the world. Given the city’s countless exhibition spaces and museums the perfect art-world immersion trip takes some planning. To get the most out of the experience, we spoke with Dyala Nusseibeh, the Fair Director of ARTINTERNATIONAL, for insider tips on how to best navigate the fair and city for an authentic and unforgettable trip.
NATALIE HAIMO: What are you most looking forward to at ARTINTERNATIONAL and the Biennial this year?
DYALA NUSSEIBEH: It’s hard to highlight just a few elements. But we are especially happy to welcome, through generous support of the Catalan government, 12 galleries from Art Barcelona (Associació de Galeries). The other section I always look forward to is By the Waterside, the fair’s dedicated sculpture terrace. This year By the Waterside will include works by acclaimed artists including Rada Boukova, Guido Casaretto, Karl Karner, Şakir Gökçebağ, Erbossyn Meldibekov, Stefan Nikolaev, Ichwan Noor, Javier Pérez, Paul Schwer and Walid Siti.
NH: How is this year’s ARTINERNATIONAL different from the previous one?
DN: ARTINTERNATIONAL received a record number of applicants this year. Participants in our upcoming edition come from 27 countries spanning Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East, Central Asia, India and China. In terms of the artistic programme, this year we have new guest curators such as Paolo Chiasera contributing to the programme as well as a different theme for the Videos on Stage section curated by Basak Senova.
NH: Art fairs can be overwhelming. Any tips on how to get the most out of the experience?
DN: Yes – arrive early the day after the preview – the fair will be emptier so you will be able to wander around and see the art works without being too distracted by the crowds. Or spend the first hour of the preview just looking at works as afterwards it becomes far harder to actually see the art. Speak to gallerists even if you don’t know them – they love to answer questions about works by their artists and will appreciate genuine interest. Have a look at the works that will be showing online prior to arriving at the fair so that you have a must-see list in mind before getting there. This year our collaboration with Artsy will provide a digital preview of the fair. Launching on the 27 August, the online preview will enable visitors to connect with galleries and see what’s on offer in advance.
NH: Any up-and-coming Turkish artists on your radar?
DN: Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Ahmet Ogut, Sinan Logie, Emre Hüner, Banu Cennetoĝlu and Nevin Aladag.
NH: Where is the must-be-seen place in the city at the moment?
DN: Soho House – try their cappuccino martinis! Colonie in Karaköy has great food and ambience. Karaköy Lokantası for Turkish meze. Mikla’s terrace for a post-work drink. Dinner at Spago. The list continues…
NH: Best place for a pick-me-up Turkish coffee?
DN: Aşk café in Kuruçeşme.
NH: Best place to unwind after a long day?
DN: The spa at Raffles.
NH: What shops would you recommend to those looking to pick up local artisanal souvenirs?
DN: Midnight Express, A La Turca, the Spice Market, Armaggan for luxury artisanal souvenirs, Hamm and Hiç in Tophane for contemporary design meets craftsmanship.
NH: Your suitcase doesn’t make the flight. What’s the one-stop-shop for an art-fair appropriate outfit?
DN: Visit Mapa, they have a great range of casual-chic dresses, pants and tops. Otherwise Studio in Galata showcasing Yasemin Özeri and clothes by Bis Wear designer Reyhan Ertürk.
NH: For a first-timer, what’s the one thing not to miss in Istanbul?
DN: The Harem at Topkapi Palace, the underwater cisterns in Sultan Ahmet, Hagia Sophia and of course ARTINTERNATIONAL!
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