• On “Art Affect” with Selma Aygün

    Interview: İpek Yeğinsü

    Selma Aygün is one of the most colorful and multidimensional characters of our art world… She is both an artist and a collector. She was trained in architecture and sociology, and she became interested in fashion and decoration. She successfully continues her career in the Board of Directors of The Painting and Sculpture Museum Association. We had a pleasant conversation with Aygün about her “art affect” in her own words.

    You often refer to the impact of your educational background in architecture on your paintings. How would you exactly describe this impact?


    Architectural education is not confined to a training in arts and architecture but can be said to include nearly all practices of life, rendering awareness of the experiences compulsory. You already take the Foundation Course and Basic Design classes in your first years as required courses. Basic art education features experiences combining many essential elements like perspective, math, geometry, scaling, color, space, forefront and background with human-space relationships. This is obviously reflected in a panting’s creation process. I was very lucky in this respect because Altan Gürman, a valuable figure we lost at a young age was my professor. As we all know he is one of the first and most prominent figures in Turkish contemporary art. I wish he lived longer and we could witness more of his creations. Although in my paintings naturalistic elements generally meet brush gestures and coincidental structures leading to abstraction, the basic relationships I mentioned are always valid.


    One of Selma Aygün’s works

    What kinds of works are you interested in as a collector? Is there a theme, period or technique you are particularly prone to?

    I prefer calling it “Art Affect” instead of Collectorship.I didn’t begin the process with the objective of always collecting works able to talk to each other and under a common title. Because with the passage of time artistic trends and media change as well and build new platforms. My criteria are neither too strict. First of all I am excited by authentic works I haven’t seen the similars of. I particularly try not to miss the occasions to see structural and gigantic installations reminiscent of architecture, which trigger change in the viewer vis big, conceptual, optic illusions. On the other hand, as a period I find the western Modern era very valuable. In the process leading to the Contemporary Art after Cezanne there were some very important artistic leaps, groups were born. I also find Contemporary Art very exciting because it offers the viewer an endless range of experimental possibilities via shocking, ironic statements, variety of media, digital possibilities and manipulations, making the viewer mentally question the very notion of art. I am very curious about the greater acceleration these experiences will have in the future and the new trajectory of art.


    A view from Selma Aygün Collection


    The artists you like in Turkey and in the world, and the publications and art fairs you follow?

    There are many artists in the global reralm, I particularly find Anselm Kiefer’s strong works very impressive. Albert Oehlen,Wolfgang Tillmans, Darren Almond, Vik Muniz, Maurizio Cattelan. Frank Stella’s gigantic works always impress me as well. His retrospective at the Whitney Museum of New York is on until February 7. There are also very important names from our own realm. Mehmet Güleryüz is very strong both with his artistic equipage and his practice. I feel lucky to have been his student for a time period. Abdurrahman Öztoprak is an important name in geometric abstract. Kemal Önsoy and Canan Tolon from the generation that followed. I can also mention Altan Gürman, Canan Beykal, Füsun Onur, Serhat Kiraz, Ayşe Erkmen and Sarkis as artists who took the contemporary artistic risks and were very important in the passage into our times. In the recent decade there have been many important artists who made a great progress and worked without compromising their coherence and work pace; but these lines are not enough for mentioning them all. On the other hand I follow the art news via websites like Artnet News, Artnet Auctions and Artsy. I make use of magazines like Art Investor, Art&Business and Canvas as well as the books I bring from abroad.I attend Art Basel and Frieze London. I went to Art 15 London this year. I also went to Art Chicago once. Although it was a contemporary art fair it had interesting architecture events and it was a very pleasant experience. In Europe, America, Far East, and even some Latin American countries there are numerous art fairs. Their qualities are of course questionable. In Turkey the biennial and Contemporary Istanbul are especially important. CI who will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year accomplishes a very important thing with the synergy it creates in an environment like ours, with a debatable interest and support in art. Well done.

    How does your identity as an artist affect your selections as a collector, in your opinion? How do you evaluate the collectors’ information level and their selection methods in our country? Your experience matters a lot since you occupy both roles.

    They always coexisted. In my selections I emphasize the works that make me enamoured, that I would have never thought of experiencing. Other times I experience contemporaneity. I witnessed that a work I planned to experience was already realized by another artist in another country. Sometimes there are coincidences, different artists create very similar works. In our country contemporary art collecting does not have a long history. Collectorship can’t happen without passion, and what is done without this genuine desire is temporary as a fashion, a quest for prestige, a trend. “Passion” is indispensable for a collector. And then financial possibilities, of course. But the solely market-based acquisitions and the perception of the artwork purely as an investment tool deceives people. It is obviously always desirable that the artwork’s value increases, but it should not be the departure point. A collector has to have, first of all, conducted research into many factors including the artist, the gallery and the continuity of the creative practice. There are so many online publications, information is easily accessible. You may find out about many things like which works by which artist entered which collection from which auction at which price. This is also like a game and very entertaining.

    We know that you also work with the Panting and Sculpture Museum. What will be the museum’s vision and projects from now on?

    Painting and Sculpture Museums Association (RHMD) has a history of 35 years. It still offers courses including Painting, Sculpture and Philosophy at its center in Maçka. Every year it organizes a selection and sales of editions to support young artists and to generate funding. This motivates young artists. Additionally depending on the request there are basic art education courses for preparing students for the art academy. In the days to come we want to organize art trips to make art enthusiasts view the museum and gallery exhibitions and meet the artists.

    In recent years in Turkey there has been a huge increase in interest in contemporary art and young artists. How do you reach young artists as a collector? Any favorites?

    Yes, the artist-collector encounter is really very important. Generally some art initiatives provide a right and useful platform for it. For instance Art50’s efforts in this realm are interesting. It supports the promotion of many young artists via events it organizes either online or in a variety of venues. Congratulations. I sometimes visit the online sites like Art50 to make some discoveries. Mamut is also growing in importance every year.

    Can you inform us about the recent projects you have been working on? Will we see you in exhibitions in the near future?

    I still study Sculpture at RHMD, at Zeynep Kösem’s workshop. Three-dimensional experience adds a different excitement. The production is very dynamic from construction to casting. I have to admit that sculpture is acquiring a continuity in my practice and I want to share it with the public in the nearest future.


    First piece you acquired: A work by Mustafa Aslıer in 1980.

    The piece you would like to own the most: All installations of Jaume Plensa’s “Together” exhibition at San Giorgo Maggire in Venice.

    The type of art that intrigues you: Ancient, Classical sculpture blows my mind. I can’t help admiring the mastery in reflecting the drapery onto the marble.

    The meaning of art for you:
    A crucial phenomenon making life worth living, giving excitement and joy. It will always exist independent from conditions.


  • Art at the “Avantgarde” Hotels: Interview with İsmet Öztanık

    Art at the “Avantgarde” Hotels: Interview with İsmet Öztanık

    ismet oztanikInterview: Yasemin Elçi

    Translation: İpek Yeğinsü

    İsmet Öztanık, the creator of the Avantgarde brand visible in many areas of Istanbul with its hotels, has 25 years of experience in hotel management. He also adds an artistic element to his family business by sponsoring various important contemporary art events and artists and thus sets a unique example for all emerging collectors.

    On July 17, while the exhibition “Celebrities | Ünlüler” organized in collaboration with Art50.net continues at the Avantgarde Hotel Yalıkavak, we talked to him about how he supports art as an institution and as an individual, the place of art in his life and his collection.

    Can you inform us a little bit about your history in hotel management? When did art become part of your hotels first?

    We have a 25-year history of hotel management as a family. We are both investors and managers, it started in Taksim and continued in Levent, Şişli and Bodrum. We always operated in the four-star sector until 2010. Due to harsh competition and difficult market conditions, and also to the level of development in Turkish hospitality sector, the art element at our hotels did not develop until 2009. This side of ours first manifested itself at the first branch of Avantgarde Hotels in Levent.

    Where does your personal interest in art come from? Did you receive any education in this field? Does your family have a collectorship history?

    After I studied Political Science at Koç University I did my master’s education in England and returned to Turkey in 2009.  But in my entire curriculum I selected some courses in art history, drama, and the impact of art on individuals and society. In other words in my personal life art has always had a place. There was no one in my family interested in art before me. The private and institutional collections were born with my initiative.


    art50.net Genco Gulan Yalıkavak

    How does the Avantgarde brand identify itself with art?

    I personally conducted the emergence of the Avantgarde brand. Elif Özsezen and Bera Ertürk created the chaos within harmony sculpture for our Levent branch. Our logo design was also inspired by that sculpture.

    How did you start collecting and organizing exhibitions?

    At our inaugural opening we collaborated with Lebriz Art and in the beginning we particularly focused on collecting works by female artists.This was a laboratory for us. We generally operated in line with recommendations. We tried to have a living city hotel and not a business hotel. In our rooms we used some canvas prints by the Turkish photographer Derin Özsezen who lives in the USA.

    Do you have an art consultant?

    Selin Yurtbilir, my old friend who is also Galeri Kuad’s partner became our art consultant. We continued our collaboration at our Taksim branch as well.

    Van Gogh

    How did your interest in art contribute to your hotel business? Do you support art outside the hotels?

    We want our guests to prefer us again once they come back and our aim is to offer them a home-like comfort. Consequently we wanted to carry this spark that was born in Levent into the other hotels as well.

    We also support art by supporting Contemporary İstanbul, Art International and some temporary exhibitions. We try to position our name in the right places in this art scene.We sponsor the right organizations by providing them with our spaces so that they can communicate themselves more accurately to their audiences. As a collector I emphasize their contribution both in my intimate circles and as an institutional representative, in social gatherings and  sectoral meetings.

    Who are the other artists featured in your collection?

    We acquired works by important artists including Burhan Doğançay, Suat Akdemir, Saba Barlas, Ardan Özmenoğlu, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Maide Bulak, Fatma Tülin Öztürk and Pınar Du Pre. We even acquired a sculpture piece by Ozan Oganer today, and it has the same height as me.

    The Sun of Art, Yalıkavak

    At your Bodrum, Yalıkavak branch you have inaugurated an exhibition titled “Celebrities | Ünlüler” in collaboration with Art50.net. Who are the featured artists? Have you ever done such a project in Bodrum before?

    As we do in Istanbul, also in Yalıkavak we wanted to support some local artists first. In addition we hosted Kezban Arca Batıbeki.

    On the other hand, we have currently inaugurated  the “Celebrities | Ünlüler”exhibition in collaboration with Güliz Özbek Collini, the founder of art50.net who has valuable contributions in contemporary art scene and who, in my opinion, took the affordability and accessibility of art as a holy mission. Thus we aim at bringing together the right audiences and contemporary art in Yalıkavak. We will both reach the people living there and those travelling there during the summer.

    Our exhibition will last until September 30 and will feature works by Betül Aytaç, Ayna, Genco Gülan and Hadra Tanrıverdi.

    How did you first meet Güliz Özbek Collini?

    We met during an event at the Soho House. But her husband is a colleague of mine as well. Later I purchased a pop-art piece from them. I followed the artists they represented and their contributions to affordable art with respect and admiration. We will continue our collaboration in the investments to come.

    art50 unluler

    Do you consider investment value when purchasing art?

    Absolutely. But my number one rule is to buy works that I will hang on my wall at home and that I will enjoy looking at. I would never buy works to be left at a corner or forgotten in storage. I think the acquired work must be visible. I prefer investing in the future by selecting artists the exciting career ups and downs of whom I can personally witness rather than the established ones. I’m a young collector and I prefer those young people to become part of my own memories.

    Have you ever thought of exhibiting your private collection?

    I haven’t yet, but this year I may collaborate with Contemporary Istanbul to organize a gathering and exhibit my collection.

    Your suggestions to a beginner contemporary art collector? How would these suggestions change for an institutional beginner?

    My number one suggestion which I also follow in my practice is to definitely buy art if they go above their regular monthly income. On the other hand, institutions should, in the light of qualified experts’ advice, prefer names that will grow and blossom with them, so that their office, shopping center or hotel spaces become liveable and constantly preferable. This is a must both from the perspective of social responsibility and to build the right legacy.

    “Celebrities | Ünlüler” continues  at the Avantgarde Hotel Yalıkavak in collaboration with art50.net until September 30.

    Görsel 1: İsmet Öztanık portrait
    Görsel 2: Genco Gülan, “Four-Eyed Marilyn”, digital print on canvas, 95 x 95 cm, 2015 (from the exhibition “Celebrities”)
    Görsel 3: Genco Gülan, “Four-Eyed Vincent”, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 120 cm, 2015 (from the exhibition “Celebrities”)
    Görsel 4: Ayna, “Sun of Art”, photography, 5 editions, 70 x 100 cm, 2012 (from the exhibition “Celebrities”)
    Görsel 5: Hadra Tanrıverdi Birecik, “Inner Flow 3” & “Inner Flow 2”, mixed media on canvas, 2014 (from the exhibition “Celebrities”)

    The interview is taken from Sanatonline.net.

  • On Collecting and Legal Aspects of Art Market in Turkey with Mehmet Ali Bakanay

    Mehmet Ali Bakanay is a law practitioner, collector and one of the consultants of Art International. In addition to being active in the artworld as an artlover and collector, he has the opportunity to closely watch legal aspects of the art market. We had a fun conversation with Bakanay on topics ranging from his art collection to the artists he follows, from existing cultural laws in Turkey to the art world ecosystem. Bakanay’s point of views on art and the legal aspects of the art world will be intrigue the art lovers. Happy reading!


  • Art and Travel with Özlem Avcıoğlu

    Does one who travels knows better than one who reads? With her active and adventurous lifestyle, Özlem Avcıoğlu redefines this much known argument: she both travels and reads a lot. Engaged in many fields simultaneously, she successfully merges all her interests. You may know Avcıoğlu from travelmodus.com, a website she founded to inspire “sophisticated travellers”, from Haaz, the design store which she is the co-founder of, or her popular Instagram account.


  • Art Fairs with Banu Çarmıklı

    Banu Çarmıklı’s passion for art goes a long way back. In addition to collecting art, she follows the art world very closely. After graduating from Marketing and Business Administration at London University of Richmond, Çarmıklı attended many Art History classes on both international and domestic levels and managed to channel her passion for art into writing. You can follow up Çarmıklı’s art blog and check out her articles that are expanding on a daily basis on banucarmikli.com.


  • Art Market with Aylin Seçkin

    Aylin Seçkin, a docent who gives lectures on the Economy of Art and Culture in the Department of Economics at Bilgi University, is one of the few academicians in Turkey that researches about art market. Having taken an active role in the previous Contemporary Istanbul Dialogues, the art market guru Seçkin is currently working on many different projects sponsored by TUBİTAK and European Union. In May, she will give a month-long course on Art Markets in Bilgi’s Lifelong Education Center.


  • Discovering and Investing in Emerging Artists

    Recently, there is an increasing interest in new and emerging artists, both locally and internationally. Many contests, exhibitions, fair and awards are being organized for discovering and supporting new talents. We had a conversation with the renowned curator and academician Marcus Graf on how he discovers new artists, the importance of emerging artists both for collectors and the art world.


  • Artful Venues with Ahu Büyükkuşoğlu Serter

    Founders of Turkey’s first boutique art hotel Case Dell’ Arte, Ahu Büyükkuşoğlu Serter has developed the art collection that her parents started and brought it to this day. Aside from her engagement in art, Büyükkuşoğlu is also known with her success and entrepreneurship in the business world. We have asked her about her art collection, where and how she displays it, her boutique art hotel and her works that are displayed at the “Young Collectors” exhibition in Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.


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