Genco Gulan and Abraham Lubelski talk at the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair on December 2006.
Genco Gulan: Hello Abe! Good to see you again in Istanbul after so many years. How did you find our “contemporary to be” art fair?
Abraham Lubelski: Feels like a very open exciting city with an eager / desire to change, new ideas in the arts.
Genco Gulan: But my computer keeps on telling me “low connection or low connectivity”. Do you see this in art world as well?
Abraham Lubelski: That is precisely the problem. You need more open doors. It needs to be more new media projects at these fairs to establish more interconnectivity at these art fairs, with talented artists.
Genco Gulan: If you compare another Asian city; Beijing, where you also have a new gallery, what can you say? Or how can we compare Beijing with Istanbul in terms of art?
Abraham Lubelski: In Beijing 90 percent of the art spaces are new. And new studios and exhibitions are opening every month while Istanbul is more in the traditional European model. You need more alternative spaces that are not market based.
Genco Gulan: Yes, I also think that way. But it is not easy here. We are running a couple of artists’ spaces here like iS, CaM and GalataPerform. We are doing OK but mostly abroad. It is quite hard on the home run. How are they doing in China?
Abraham Lubelski: Similar to here. But there are more art communities. And each week they have group shows with new art projects. There is a constant energy growing.
Genco Gulan: China as a country is the next super power. So how can we compete with the tigers and the dragon? The sultans are tired dealing with the crusaders.
Abraham Lubelski: You need to unroll and fly over your own magic carpet.
Genco Gulan: I use Internet and new media as my secret pandora’s box. However, as artists we always get more clicks from abroad than at home. Maybe that’s the way it should be?
Abraham Lubelski: On the Internet everybody is at home.
Genco Gulan: What about the Turkish art world? We are still trying to exploit the heritage of the Empires, how can we build up over this?
Abraham Lubelski: Still staying too close to mummy and daddy. Now the whole world is your studio. Go for it!
Genco Gulan: I want to go and I do go but we have Berlin walls all over the world! After 9/ 11 they all started to treat us a like the “natural born” suicide bombers.
Abraham Lubelski: There are always walls inside and out. If the artist doesn’t break them down and share their vision and energy, no one else will do it.
Genco Gulan: My friend Andy Deck recently told me “Artists are the black box of humanity”. I think it is a great comment. And if we get back to our fair, Contemporary Istanbul; what has your memory recorded about the event?
Abraham Lubelski: My feeling is this is a very positive move; bringing fresh young artists on the scene together with International artists.
Genco Gulan: I think that the fairs are getting better also. But they are still fairs. Which artists did you like the most?
Abraham Lubelski: In general I like the ones who share their studio with the public rather than showing finished work for approval.
Genco Gulan: Actually, for the presentation here I have used the old furniture from my studio and suddenly the work became an installation.
Abraham Lubelski: That is the way art happens, a process and exploration…