• the moving museum – last week, last chance

    December 8th, 2014

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    In Istanbul between Wednesday and Sunday this week? Give yourself a little gift.  Take a wander through THE MOVING MUSEUM which has turned a multi-storey carpark in Şişhane into an exhibition space. Open from 12-6pm it’s definitely worth the small entrance fee. I hope to see more novel uses of public space like this in the near future. This city needs the inspiration. And it’s a couple of short steps from the metro line. So, no excuses. Make a date before it’s too late.

  • anish kapoor at sabancı

    November 5th, 2013

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    Anish Kapoor 1

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    Anish Kapoor diptych

    If you haven’t ventured out to see Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at Sabancı Museum in Emirgan you’re really missing something. I think the only somewhat negative comment I have about this exhibition is that it might have made even more impact if there had been fewer works included. This might be a case where more really is less. There’s really something quite ‘epic” about the scale of many of Mr Kapoor’s works and it sometimes felt they deserved a bit more room to breathe and be navigated.

    I’ve visited twice now and even though I didn’t have my junior art critic with me — who, incidentally, got a lot out of the experience for a three-year-old — I passed over some of the pieces much more quickly because I want to spend a bit more time with some of the ones I was most taken with the first time. I’ve only shared a couple because pictures don’t do the tactile, sensual feeling of these sculptures and their media the justice they deserve. So go feel it for yourself.

    Anish Kapoor room

    ANISH KAPOOR IN ISTANBUL – UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2014

  • workshop wonderland

    May 9th, 2013

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    Yesterday I had an all too brief glimpse into the mind of one of the most fascinating creatives in Istanbul — someone who successfully blurs the line between art, architecture, design and craft — in what might well be the most distinctive style I’ve seen anywhere in years. At some point I will have to do a full exploration and profile of Sema Topaloglu’s Cibali workshop and showroom. Her work environment is a veritable wonderland of organic shapes and materials, prototypes and projects. You’d almost think you were standing in a special effects workshop for a motion picture, except that the materials are not made of foam and cardboard, and she’s not creating illusions, so much as fabricating a new physical reality in media such as Black Sea hardwood, raw iron, glass and marble. There are huge mushroom lamp models, wood blocks representing a neighbourhood planning project she’s working on, multi-level tables … glass and iron objects all coated in a layer of sawdust fresh from her usta‘s saw table. There are so many compelling things to look at that it’s hard to isolate your focus to one spot. Furniture swings open to reveal elaborate tool bits that look like a chest of ninja throwing stars. Although I’ve written about Sema before, she hasn’t been standing still for more than a nanosecond since I last saw her. She’s too busy blurring the lines between what creativity and professionalism, art and architecture, design and craft can be. Take a look at some of Sema’s projects here.

  • printemps’ last late night

    April 19th, 2013

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    Last night was the final late night of Printemps Des Artistes 2013 and offered some its most enjoyable moments. Opening night was so busy you could hardly move, let alone appreciate the art on the walls. A particular high moment was watching Takayoshi Sakabe perform his Butoh dance. It was truly dramatic — and not simply because I thought he was going to knock some of my work off the walls. The man not only knows how to produce the most delicate brush strokes as a painter, he knows how to convey a series of really powerful emotional movements. It’s impressive to see such motion/emotion in  a gallery which can feel so otherwise restrained environment. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the exhibition there’s still this evening until 8pm and tomorrow until 8pm at Sainte Pulcherie Fransiz Lisesi. Thank you to everyone who came by. It was a great experience.

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  • that london book fair

    March 5th, 2013

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    Today I just wanted to take some time to give a shout out to friend and frequent collaborator, Simon Johnson, who has taken his small, bicycle-delivered cult publication THAT from the streets of Istanbul to Art Dubai and now to the London Book Fair. A special LBF issue is about to hit the presses showcasing just a small portion of this city’s tremendous local talent and will be distributed throughout the fair, which runs from April 15-17 at Earl’s Court. The LBF is one of the world’s most important meetings of agents, publishers and authors, where deals are brokered and fresh talent comes to light. It’s also further indication that print, especially independent print, is still a very meaningful medium of expression. Whether you’re a writer, photographer, illustrator, or artist THAT continues to go places and take its contributors with it. Should you be interested in getting some good press for your work, consider submitting ideas to THAT Magazine via dubfield@yahoo.com (a.k.a Monsieur Editor-In-Chief). You never know where THAT will lead you.

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  • street colour, street art

    February 24th, 2013

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  • Nihat Usta

    December 11th, 2012

    At 79A Kumbaracı Yokuşu, the street that falls from Istiklal Caddesi to Tophane, exists a portal into a another world. This is the dükkan of master craftsman, Nihat Usta. Every day Nihat Usta boards the early morning motorboat to make his way from Anadolu Kavağı to his Pera workshop where he restores the most incredible furniture from another era. From his shop emanates a glow. Is it the materials like mother of pearl and wood that he works with? Or the aura of a man who can create something that much of us only dream of? In any case, there’s something vital as well as timeless (at least, I hope so) about this place. Let’s hope that businesses like Nihat’s thrive for years to come. They are something that keep the spirit of places like Beyoğlu from becoming artificial or feeling gentrified. Thanks for keeping it real, Nihat Usta.

  • Contemporary Istanbul

    November 25th, 2012

    If you happen to be in Istanbul today, and are wondering what to do, drop by Contemporary Istanbul. Even if the venue is not quite right for the subject matter the selection of talent and work is something special. It’s especially encouraging to see contemporary Turkish art take its place right next to international artists without any dissonance. I’ve been a little distracted (in a good way) the last couple of years, so I haven’t had much chance to monitor what was going on art-wise locally to the extent I’d like to so it was particularly nice to bump into friends and artists like Emel Kurhan and Ahmet Polat, both of whom are enjoying international success. It’s particularly interesting to view art with other artists and discuss the work without pretence. It’s a fair, which means it’s every bit as much about transaction and collection as it is appreciation.

    As art is incredibly subjective, there’s always a certain amount that could be described as grotesque and cynical and exploitative. However, there’s at least as much if not more that is incredibly thoughtful, provocative and beautifully executed. The problem with such an event is that it’s on such a scale that it can become overwhelming and make you wonder if you’ve seen enough. After a few hours your head starts to whirl and your eyes begin to burn. That wasn’t a problem, however, when I saw my friend Ahmet Polat’s work. I’m clearly unable to separate the artist from his work, but just as I began to worry that too much of the work was distant and cerebral, I saw some of the work excerpted from his book and exhibition Kemal’s Dream. One print was of a father kissing his daughter goodbye through the window of a bus. Something in me just popped. That’s the final image that stays with me. The feeling captured in this print overpowered me and made me understand what I appreciate in art — sincere storytelling that makes us realize what we live for and what we need to share.

  • The arc

    August 28th, 2012

    Whatever happened to the arc (or arch) in architecture? Did it simply become unnecessary with modern building materials and methods?  I have to say I like a nice curve. Yesterday I spent a lot of time again looking for iconic Istanbul scenes for a project I’m working on for two fantastic Dutch clients of mine, but the icon I got stuck on was the arc. This post is in praise of parabolas. We certainly spent enough time calculating them in high school.

  • Lola

    August 3rd, 2012

    Yesterday just as I was prepared to admit defeat, I was hauled back from the verge of failure by Lola. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find suitable summertime entertainment for Sof that didn’t involve retreating from the heat to a shopping mall. Fortunately, Lola—which stands for Lots Of Lovely Art—provided me with a new way to entertain my small one. This open, airy environment created by Alara Hindle in a storefront location up above Emirgan Park in Reşitpaşa, is focused on providing children with an entertaining, involving approach to art. Read More…