Istanbul Biennial


17 Sep - 13 Nov 2011

17 September - 13 November
Curators: Jens Hoffmann & Adriano Pedrosa

The 12th Istanbul Biennial explores the rich relationship between art and politics, focusing on artworks that are both formally innovative and politically outspoken. It takes as its point of departure the work of the Cuban American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957–1996). Gonzalez-Torres was deeply attuned to both the personal and the political, and also rigorously attentive to the formal aspects of artistic production, integrating high modernist, minimal, and conceptual references with themes of everyday life.

The biennial is composed of five group exhibitions and more than 50 solo presentations, all housed in a single venue, Antrepo 3 and 5. Each of the group shows—Untitled (Abstraction), “Untitled” (Ross), “Untitled” (Passport), Untitled (History), and “Untitled” (Death by Gun)—departs from a specific work by Gonzalez-Torres. These five works are reproduced in the Companion publication and function as thematic anchors for the biennial. Each group show features a large number of works occupying a single room, and is distinguished by its gray walls from the solo presentations. The solo presentations are linked to one or several subjects of the group exhibitions, and push the themes decidedly further.

Visitors are encouraged to become active readers, not just silent recipients, of the artworks presented here. To paraphrase Gonzalez-Torres, the 12th Istanbul Biennial is untitled because meaning is always changing in time and space. In the spirit of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who genuinely wanted to make this world a better place and believed that his art could be a catalyst for change, we welcome you to the 12th Istanbul Biennial.


Zarouhie Abdalian
Bisan Abu-Eisheh
Eylem Aladoğan
Jonathas de Andrade
Nazgol Ansarinia
Edgardo Aragón
Ardmore Ceramic Art Studio
Marwa Arsanios
Yıldız Moran Arun
Nicolás Bacal
Taysir Batniji
Letizia Battaglia
Milena Bonilla
Mark Bradford
Geta Bratescu
Teresa Burga
Adriana Bustos
Elizabeth Catlett
Claire Fontaine
Abraham Cruzvillegas
Nazım Hikmet Richard Dikbaş
Adrian Esparza
Simon Evans
Geoffrey Farmer
Dani Gal
Simryn Gill
Group Material
Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt
Newell Harry
Zarina Hashmi
William E. Jones
Tamás Kaszás & Anikó Loránt
Tim Lee
Renata Lucas
Dóra Maurer
Tina Modotti
Füsun Onur
Catherine Opie
Ahmet Öğüt
Vesna Pavlovic
Rosângela Rennó
Meriç Algün Ringborg
Martha Rosler
Wael Shawky
Gabriel Sierra
Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi (PAGES)
Francisco Tropa
Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor
Hank Willis Thomas
Camilo Yáñez
Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck & Media Farzin
Ala Younis
Akram Zaatari

Tags: Zarouhie Abdalian, Eylem Aladogan, Jonathas de Andrade, Nazgol Ansarinia, Edgardo Aragon, Marwa Arsanios, Alessandro Balteo-yazbeck, Taysir Batniji, Milena Bonilla, Mark Bradford, Geta Brătescu, Teresa Burga, Adriana Bustos, Elizabeth Catlett, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Adrian Esparza, Simon Evans, Geoffrey Farmer, Claire Fontaine, Dani Gal, Simryn Gill, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Özlem Günyol, Newell Harry, Zarina Hashmi, Jens Hoffmann, Jens Hoffmann, William E. Jones, Tamás Kaszás’, Mustafa Kunt, Tim Lee, Leonilson, Renata Lucas, Group Material, Dóra Maurer, Tina Modotti, Ahmet Ögüt, Catherine Opie, Vesna Pavlovic, Rosângela Rennó, Meric Algün Ringborg, Martha Rosler, Wael Shawky, Gabriel Sierra, Hank Willis Thomas, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck, Akram Zaatari