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“Public Capital” event series took place on May 10-11

13th Istanbul Biennial Public Programme third event  series titled “Public Capital” took place at The Marmara Hotel Taksim on May 10 Friday and Salon İKSV on May 11 Saturday.

The two day event series explored various issues around the concept of “Public Capital”. Questions raised during the event included the impact of the art market on contemporary art and its presentation; the relationship between capital and independent artistic production; the state of the global art market in the gradually financialised world and alternative methods to enable independent artistic production.

At the first day of the event series, the Brussels based artist duo Vermeir & Heiremans realized a performance titled “Art House Index”. Drawing attention to the parallels between the modes of operation and tools of financial markets and the value systems constructed around contemporary art works, the duo offered a critical take on the art market through highlighting the role of the phenomenon of pricing on asserting value. Regarding the protests during the performance and subsequent developments, you may find the statement by the 13th Istanbul Biennial Public Programme co-curators Dr. Andrea Phillips and Fulya Erdemci here.

The second day of the event series at Salon İKSV started with the introductory statements by 13th Istanbul Biennial curator Fulya Erdemci and Public Programme co-curator Andrea Phillips. Following the opening, Alberto López Cuenca, who teaches contemporary art theory and philosophy at the humanities department of Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Mexico, opened up to discussion the role of art (always in an ambiguous position) in the logic of the capitalist market and art’s capacity to foster social wealth—from ideas to land and software—which is shared and held in common.

“Public Capital” discussions continued with the presentation of Suhail Malik, who teaches critical studies at Goldsmiths, London and writes on political economy, theory, and art’s axioms. Malik spoke about the art market’s impact on culture and the relationship between the currently centralized elite systems of power and the contemporary art market. Contributing to the discussion in response to Malik’s presentation, discussant Haldun Dostoğlu, the founder of Galeri Nev İstanbul, spoke about the relation between art and capital and interaction between the art market and political power through a reflection on the developments in contemporary art in Turkey in recent history.

The afternoon session of the event featured a panel discussion. Participants from various arts institutions; Vasıf Kortun (SALT, İstanbul), Maria Lind (Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm), Barnabás Bencsik (Ludwig Müzesi, Budapest) and Kuba Szreder (Free/Slow University of Warsaw), discussed the state of art institutions vis à vis the changing and more trying conditions of resource generation, and the relation between public art institutions and those supported by private corporations.

“Becoming Public Subjects”, the fourth event of “Public Alchemy”, 13th Istanbul Biennial’s public programme aiming to bring together artistic production and knowledge production, will take place on September 14, Saturday and September 15, Sunday, and the final event in the series, “Future Publics / New Collectives” will be held on November 1, Friday and November 2, Saturday. Exploring how conventional concepts of ‘the public’ are being transformed in Turkey and all around the world, the Public Alchemy programme is co-curated by 13th Istanbul Biennial curator Fulya Erdemci and Dr. Andrea Phillips, reader in the Fine Art Department of Art and director of the Doctoral Research Programmes in Fine Art and Curating at Goldsmiths, University of London.