Turkey featured in new edition of ‘Global Art Compass’

As the name of the book suggests, readers can use the book as a compass through which they can learn about the author’s interpretations of the artists and works he has chosen from different parts of the globe. It is divided into geographic chapters such as West, South, East and North, giving examples from the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Europe, respectively.

In his chapter on Turkey in this new edition, Hicks writes İstanbul is one of the art world’s barometers. “The future of art’s direction is partly in Turkey’s hands. If the domestic political and religious climate drown the excitement of a hub where artists are challenging the status quo of a globalised, homogenised world culture, if collectors, curators and artists themselves become too enthralled to New York, then the art market, money-driven trajectory is more likely to win out over the richer and more diverse offerings that alternative centers such as Istanbul are currently delivering,” he explains.

The Internet, combined with shifts in the global economy, has changed the role of art centers, Hicks adds. “An artist can live anywhere and carve an international career: artists don’t have to live in the capital city. This chapter starts with the experience of walking into a young, relatively unknown artist’s studio [Cansu Cakar’s] and falling in love. It happened not in Istanbul but an hour’s flight away in Izmir. Immersing myself in the bubble and energy of ideas has been one of the great pleasures of coming to Turkey over the last couple of years. Patterns and trends emerge and I started to associate Turkish artists with certain themes. Some of the most exciting artists battle to improve the lot of women, others to fight for homosexual freedoms. Migration is another global theme, but in the hands of Turkish artists the distress and anxieties somehow co-exist with the deep human desire to explore the universe. Today’s Turkish artists live up to the weight of Istanbul’s tradition as a percolator of ideas: they are full of explanations about the situation in their own country and the world. Talking in studios, at galleries, in cafes, bars and collector’s houses there is a cacophony of noise of which even Cevdet Erek [mostly known his sound installations] would be proud,” he further elaborates.

In the course of the chapter, the author details works of artists Cakar, Nil Yalter, Sarkis, Nilbar Gures, Burak Delier, Aslı Cavusoglu, Sukran Moral, Hera Buyuktascıyan, Ali Kazma, Kemal Seyhan, Erek, Erdem Tasdelen and Merey Senocak, together with some installations in the Museum of Innocence founded by Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk.