Opened in 2010 as a subsidiary of the Vehbi Koç Foundation, Arter has moved to its new building in 2019, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Foundation. Ready to reopen its doors in Istanbul’s Dolapdere district, Arter aims to bring together artists and audiences through celebration of today’s art in all its forms and disciplines. Designed by London-based Grimshaw Architects, Arter’s new building will assume its place among the leading cultural buildings of the city.
Contributing to Cultural Life in Turkey
For the architectural design of Arter’s new home, a paid project competition was initiated in 2013. The winners of this competition were globally renowned Grimshaw Architects who have taken the lead in the design process with contributions by Thornton Tomasetti, Max Fordham, and Neill Woodger Acoustics. The construction of the building was started in 2015 and completed in 2019.
Deriving from the concepts of transparency and fluidity, Arter’s new building is conceived as a versatile space, presenting multi-layered possibilities to discover, enjoy and engage in a closer dialogue with art. Arter was designed as an artistic and social meeting point eager to establish ties with its environment.
Offering a broad range of spatial and artictic experiences to its audience without severing their ties with the city, the building was planned as a dynamic “series of spaces” to ensure an enjoyable visit. Kirsten Lees, from Grimshaw Architects defines Arter as follows: “a complex, engaging totality that changes constantly depending on the viewer’s position creating a multi-layered, integrated and interdisciplinary public building. Arter’s varied programme offers opportunities to foster and create new synergies between art forms, while providing a focus for physical and intellectual interaction and the creation of innovative creative communities.” Arter will provide an important contribution to Turkey’s cultural life through its programme that will be enriched by the opportunites its new building offers.
As of September, Arter is getting ready to make art accessible to larger audiences at its new building in Dolapdere through exhibitions drawn from its own collection as well as curated exhibitions of non-collection works. Furthermore, events that bring together various disciplines, film and learning programmes, along with publications promise a rich multidisciplinary programme. A subsidiary of the Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV), Arter strives to be a sustainable, vibrant cultural hub, making its broad range of programmes accessible to everyone.
The Arter Collection
In 2007, the Vehbi Koç Foundation started an international contemporary art collection as part of the strategy designed by Vehbi Koç Foundation Culture and Arts Advisor and Arter Founding Director Melih Fereli in 2005. The collection has grown under Arter’s management and care to include over 1,350 contemporary works of art (as of 2019) and continues to expand. A large number of pieces from the collection are lent each year to leading art institutions and galleries across the world. Along with the inauguration of Arter’s new building in September 2019, the collection will be opened to the public through exhibitions, digital channels and publications.
The Collection, while conceived on an international basis, is particularly engaged in the artistic and cultural production in Turkey and the neighbouring wider geography, with the intention of exploring the convergences as well as disparities between the forms, statements and contents produced in Turkey and elsewhere. Bringing together various contemporary expressions, positions and practices, the Arter Collection consists of works from the 1960s onwards, produced in a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, installation, sound, light and performance.
Incorporating a plurality of themes, concepts and gestures, the Collection offers an inspiring source for the practice of exhibition making as well as for researchers and audiences.
Besides collecting and caring for contemporary works of art Arter also engages in their creative interpretation through exhibitions as well as encouraging and funding the production of new ones.
Exhibitions And Events
Arter will open with seven concurrent exhibitions: Collection-based group exhibitions What Time Is It? and Words Are Very Unneccessary; a major retrospective of Altan Gürman’s work, again drawn primarily from Arter Collection; and Hidden Conference by Rosa Barba, a solo presentation from the collection. Arter’s opening exhibitions include Ayşe Erkmen’s retrospective exhibition entitled Whitish. Consisting of new works, İnci Furni’s solo exhibition She Waited For A While and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s offroad, v.2 are among the solo exhibitions awaiting audiences with the opening of the new building.
Apart from exhibitions, Arter’s programme will also feature outstanding and innovative examples of performing arts, classical, contemporary and electronic music, film, performance and digital arts, placing them in dialogue with the collection and exhibitions where possible. The events are not limited to Arter’s two performance halls, the Sevgi Gönül Auditorium and Karbon, but also held in different parts/spaces of the building. Collaborating with local and international artists, curators and various institutions, Arter commissions and co-produces new works.
In addition to the regular weekly screenings, Arter’s Film Programme will include retrospectives focused either on a theme or a director as well as comprehensive presentations enriched with talks and parallel events.
Arter’s Learning Programme presents processes and activities that aspire to interpret our times through art. Providing grounds for everyone to enjoy creative processes, the programme facilitates dialogue around contemporary art through exploring the interrelationships between its multiple contexts, the audience’s daily lives and imaginations. Shaped through a receptive and responsive attitude towards users’ affinities, the programme intends to build lasting connections between artists, audiences and partners. Besides talks, panels, workshops, seminars and exhibition tours, Arter’s Learning Programme also features two long-term programmes: Teen Council and Arter Research Programme. Designed as the main space of the learning programmes, the Learning Studio provides flexible modular structures for a variety of events and processes. The learning rooms in close dialogue with the exhibition spaces also provide ample space for visitors to participate in various interpretive events, talks, screenings, or to simply hang out, read or relax.
Arter will continue to present publications that aim to enhance and stimulate conversations around contemporary art. Arter’s publications include a series of books that offers a closer look into a single work from its collection in each volume; another one that reveals the thinking process behind each group exhibition; as well as singular books that focus on the exhibitions or artists featured in its programme. Through its bilingual (Turkish and English) publication policy, Arter aspires to contribute to the production of knowledge in the field and to the writing of art history by encouraging original research and commissioning new texts.