Contemporary Istanbul: Interview

December 22, 2006

istanbul logoGenco 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…

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