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Feb 20 2012

Fulya Erdemci named curator of 13th Istanbul Biennial

by Ashley Lee

Fulya Erdemci was appointed curator of the 13th Istanbul Biennial on February 14. Courtesy Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts.

Though the 12th Istanbul Biennial only ended three months ago, plans are being made for its 13th edition, scheduled for September 10 to November 10, 2013. On February 14, Fulya Erdemci was named curator of the biennial’s next iteration by an advisory committee organized by the Istanbul Biennial Foundation, which consisted of Turkish artist Ay┼če Erkmen;  Hou Hanru, director of exhibitions and public programs at San Francisco Art Institute; Jack Persekian, director of the al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem, and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of documenta 13.

Erdemci’s appointment surprised few in the Turkish art scene: in addition to having been director of the Istanbul Biennial from 1994 to 2000, she produced the Istanbul section of the 25th São Paulo Art Biennial (2002), co-curated SCAPE, the Fifth Biennial of Art in Public Space in Christchurch (2008), and has been the director of Amsterdam’s SKOR Foundation for Art and Public Domain since 2008.

In 2011, Erdemci was curator of the critically acclaimed Turkish Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, entitled “Plan B.” It featured just one work: Erkmen’s eponymous installation Plan B (2011), which consisted of a labyrinthine collection of colorful pipes that purified the water in Venice’s canals—a futile attempt to cleanse the city’s famously polluted waterways.

The Istanbul Biennial’s distinct format emphasizes curatorial decisions. Rather than having separate international pavilions, it is comprised of one cohesive exhibition. For the 12th Istanbul Biennial, last year, curators Jens Hoffman and Adriano Pedrosa unified the enormous show based on the work of Cuban-American sculptor Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957—1996). Erdemci is expected to reveal the curatorial framework of the 13th Istanbul Biennial later this year.