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14th Istanbul Biennial ended

The 14th Istanbul Biennial ended on Thursday, 26 November. The 14th Istanbul Biennial drew a record number of visitors as of 5 September, the day the biennial had opened its doors to the public. Due to great interest, the exhibition in Istanbul Modern, one of the 14th Istanbul Biennial venues, was extended until 26 November 2015. During 12 weeks, 545,000 viewers visited the biennial exhibition in 36 venues.

The 14th Istanbul Biennial SALTWATER: A Theory of Thought Forms, was drafted by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev with a number of alliances. Encompassing 36 venues on the European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus, the biennial took place in museums as well as temporary spaces of habitation on land and on sea such as boats, hotels, former banks, garages, gardens, schools, shops and private homes and presented over 1,500 artworks by over 80 participants.

The Istanbul Biennial has gradually reached a wider audience in every edition and this year drew a record number of visitors. 545,000 viewers visited the 14th Istanbul Biennial. 51,000 visitors attended the 9th Istanbul Biennial in 2005; 91,000 visitors attended the 10th Istanbul Biennial in 2007; 101,000 visitors attended the 11th Istanbul Biennial in 2009; 110,000 visitors attended the 12th Istanbul Biennial in 2011; and 337,429 visitors attended the 13th Istanbul Biennial in 2013.

A first for the Istanbul Biennial: Biennial on Büyükada

For the first time in its history, the Istanbul Biennial had Büyükada as an exhibition site. “Biennial on Büyükada” was realised with the sponsorship of Denizbank, “Biennial on Büyükada” Committee, Gold, Silver and Bronze supporters and hosted the Istanbul Biennial in 7 venues until 1 November 2015.

14th Istanbul Biennial met the viewers also with its events

SALTWATER: Speech Acts and Forms of Discourse offered opportunities for public engagement with more than 200 artists, scientists, curators, philosophers, and other cultural activists through over 80 round table discussions, seminars and presentations, conversations with the audience and group readings, in addition to daily guided tours and programmes for children. The 14th Istanbul Biennial events were attended by an audience of over 3,500 people.

The film programme was conceived as a series of pairings between feature films and artists' films and videos around four themes:  Eco-Fi, Subaquatic, Survival, and Life by the Shore, and was free of charge throughout the biennial at the Istanbul Modern Cinema. Feature films were programmed by Müge Turan and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, while films and artists’ works were paired by James Richards. This programme was held on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays until 1 November, screening 44 films.

The Education Programme for Children and Youth and guided tours attracted great attention

The Education Programme for Children and Youth realised with the support of Koç Holding and the cooperation of Pace Children’s Art Center, was held free of charge for children and young people between ages 8 and 18. 3,000 children and young people attended the workshops which took place in Büyükada and Galata Greek Primary School. Students and young people formed 30% of the biennial viewers.

The Guided Tours brought together the biennial and young people. Many young guides were trained for a month before the opening of the biennial to accompany visitors at the biennial with the support of Koç Holding. Guided tours of the 14th Istanbul Biennial were held on 4 different routes.

14th Istanbul Biennial publications

The 14th Istanbul Biennial Catalogue, (Author: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Editor: Süreyyya Evren) contains articles specially penned for the occasion by curators, art historians and critics, who represent a wide range of scientific fields from neurology to oceanography. The 550-page Catalogue also includes original drawings by biennial participants, along with an anthology that covers a variety of texts from 1st century to our day, all of which are chosen again by the participants. Published by İKSV and Yapı Kredi Publications with the contributions of the Vehbi Koç Foundation, the Catalogue and the Guide can be obtained from the biennial venues, bookshops, and İKSV Nejat Eczacibasi Building (Sadi Konuralp Cad. No.5, Şişhane Istanbul). All biennial publications are available free for download on or for reading via the İKSV Kitaplik iPad application.

The 15th Istanbul Biennial will be held from 16 September to 12 November 2017 under the sponsorship of Koç Holding, which will continue to support the Istanbul Biennial until 2026. The preview of the 15th Istanbul Biennial will be on 13 September (media only) and 14-15 September 2017 (media and professionals).