Istanbul Modern’s International Artist Residency Program, launched in October 2018 with the support of the Istanbul Development Agency (ISTKA), brings together ten artists from different regions of the world to collaborate with local craftspeople in Istanbul.
Invited to rethink and experience Turkey’s cultural values with a contemporary attitude, the artists researched various crafts in Istanbul and created new works in the workshops of, and in collaboration with, craftspeople of their choice. These works will be exhibited for the first time in the “Guests: Artists and Craftspeople” exhibition. In addition to these new works, the exhibition will portray the artists’ processes of research and production in Istanbul and their sources of inspiration and interaction in the city. It will also provide information about the artisans who took part in the project.
The exhibition focuses on the experience gained by guest artists during their collaboration with craftspeople who represent some of the most important crafts in the production culture of Istanbul over the centuries, and thus also scrutinizes the permeability between art and crafts. The works in the exhibition address the relationship between craft, as in the manufacturing of a product in order to satisfy a need through skill of hand and talent, and art, as in the input of the artist producing his/her original idea as a means to add value to life. Additionally, the exhibition includes objects and historical artifacts borrowed from the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) Directorate of Libraries and Museums collection and the Military Museum at Harbiye; they are examples of crafts that inspired the artists while producing their works and a testimony to the rich craft heritage of Istanbul. Also on display are videos documenting the processes of research and production of each artist and craftspeople.
The guests of the International Artist Residency Program studied different crafts: Rodrigo Hernández focused on paper marbling, Outi Pieski on block printing, Servet Koçyiğit on embroidery and quilt making, Benji Boyadgian and Wael Shawky worked with metal masters, and Rana Begum experimented with new production techniques at a metal spinning workshop. The creative projects proposed by the artists with the skill, technical and material know-how of the master craftspeople became part of an extended production experience.
The exhibition catalogue, prepared in Turkish and English, includes curatorial text describing the conceptual framework of the exhibition as well as an article by the project consultant, architect and academic Aslı Kıyak İngin about the crafts neighborhoods and production culture in Istanbul. The catalogue also includes texts, photographs and images related to the artists in the exhibition.
Other artists: Faig Ahmed, Rana Begum, Benji Boyadgian, Servet Koçyiğit, Outi Pieski, Randi & Katrine, Wael Shawky and Jorinde Voigt.