The 15th Istanbul Biennial’s title and conceptual framework was announced by the
curators Elmgreen & Dragset at a media conference on Wednesday, 7 December
at Salon İKSV in Istanbul. Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and
Arts (İKSV), the 15th Istanbul Biennial will take place between 16 September and
12 November 2017.
The media conference started with a live act involving 40 people, each asking a question
as to what constitutes a good neighbour. Throughout the media conference
photographs were projected behind the performers, selected by artist from Turkey, Ali
Taptık in relation to the framework of ‘a good neighbour’ from a series he has produced
The director of the Istanbul Biennial Bige Örer made a welcome speech following the
live act. The curators Elmgreen & Dragset then announced the title and gave a brief
curatorial statement about the conceptual framework of the 15th Istanbul Biennial.
Elmgreen & Dragset spoke about some of the themes that can be associated with the
title and said that the biennial’s format will bear traces of being curated by artists. They
also explained, “‘a good neighbour’ will deal with multiple notions of home and neighbourhoods,
exploring how living modes in our private spheres have changed throughout
the past decades. Home is approached as an indicator of diverse identities and a
vehicle for self-expression, and neighbourhood as a micro-universe exemplifying some
of the challenges we face in terms of co-existence today.”
The curators then introduced the biennial’s billboard campaign, created by graphic
designer Rupert Smyth together with artists. This international campaign will be
realised through collaborations with multiple cultural institutions worldwide, questioning
the ways in which neighbourhoods have changed all around the world.
Following the presentations, the curators Elmgreen & Dragset and the Istanbul Biennial
Director Bige Örer answered questions. The media conference was open to
art and media professionals.
The preview of the 15th Istanbul Biennial will be on 13 September (media only) and
14-15 September 2017 (media and art professionals). The biennial will take place in
different venues throughout the city and, in addition to the exhibition, will include a
series of performative interventions as well as a film and public programme.
About Elmgreen & Dragset
Elmgreen & Dragset (Michael Elmgreen, dr.h.c. and Ingar Dragset, dr.h.c.)
have worked together as an artist duo since 1995. Their practice spans
many genres, including installation, sculpture, performance, and theatre.
Their work has been included in the Istanbul (2013, 2011, 2001), Liverpool
(2012), Singapore (2011), Moscow (2011, 2007), Venice (2009, 2003),
Gwangju (2006, 2002), São Paulo (2002), and Berlin (1998) biennials.
The artists were shortlisted for the Hugo Boss Prize, Guggenheim Museum,
New York in 2000 and won the Preis der Nationalgalerie, Hamburger
Bahnhof, Berlin in 2002. In 2012, Elmgreen & Dragset were selected for
London’s Fourth Plinth Commission in Trafalgar Square. They were awarded
honorary doctorates by the Norwegian University of Science and
Technology (NTNU) in 2015.
Elmgreen & Dragset have curated the group exhibition “The Others” at König
Galerie in Berlin in November 2016. Previous curatorial projects include
“The Collectors” at the Danish and Nordic Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale
in 2009, marking the first-ever merging of two national pavilions to present
a single exhibition, which received a Special Mention entitled “Curating
Worlds”. In 2013, the duo curated “A Space Called Public”, a wide-ranging
temporary public art project throughout
the city of Munich, with the aim of generating
new conversations about the concept
of public space today. The same year, with
their exhibition “Tomorrow” at the Victoria
and Albert Museum in London, the artists
designed a setting in which they staged
paintings, furniture, and artefacts from the
museum’s permanent collection. Earlier curatorial
projects include “Not a Drop But
the Fall”, together with Susanne Pfeffer,
Künstlerhaus Bremen (2005) and “Update”,
a performance-based festival that was
part of Copenhagen’s European Capitals of
Culture program (1996).