An Interview With Istanbul's Newest Gallery: Anna Laudel Contemporary

Alexander Deubl, (S)triptychon, 2015/Courtesy of Anna Laudel Contemporary
Alexander Deubl, (S)triptychon, 2015/Courtesy of Anna Laudel Contemporary
Photo of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
13 December 2016

Founded in 2012 by the German textile magnate Anna Laudel, the Art350 Gallery served the Asian side of Istanbul before deciding to take on a new identity. Now the gallery has made its way to Bankalar Caddesi, the former financial center of the Ottoman Empire, under the name Anna Laudel Contemporary as Istanbul’s newest art gallery. Located in a beautiful neoclassical building, the gallery aims to feature the work of both Turkish and international artists. Of course there’s much more, so we took the chance to talk to the gallery’s director, Ferhat Yeter, about all the details, including the inaugural exhibition: When Did We Stop Playing?

Why did you decide to move the gallery to its new location on Karaköy’s Bankalar Caddesi?

The previous gallery, which was located on Bağdat Street on the Asian side, was a great space to organize exhibitions, but the art scene in Turkey has been very active in the European side and we needed a bigger space in order to plan different events and to reach more people around the city. With this decision, we waited for the right time to find our new space. We wanted the gallery artists to exhibit in a wider space and to organize events where people can get together, exchange ideas, and stay in touch with the international art scene. We also changed the name to ‘Anna Laudel Contemporary’ because a new space and a new name will create a new identity that presents our aim as a gallery; it is like a sign of a new concept and a bigger project. The gallery’s new identity matches with the unique spirit of the old finance district of the late Ottoman Empire in Karaköy, also operating in a historic building boasting a vast exhibition space spanning five floors, will mark an exciting new chapter for our new gallery.

Johannes Vetter, Der Wunsch (Desire), 190x120cm, 2014 /Courtesy of Anna Laudel Contemporary

How will Anna Laudel Contemporary be different from Art350? What do you hope to achieve with this new identity? How will the gallery contribute to Istanbul’s art scene and does its new location play a large role in this goal?

We see the new gallery as a bridge to stay connected with the international art world, to support art production, and to show the outcome by displaying great art. That’s why as well as hosting a dynamic exhibitions program, we also aim to develop the space into a center for public art discussions, workshops, and interdisciplinary readings. The gallery will also represent Turkish artists at an international level by showcasing their latest projects at leading international art fairs.

Running in tandem with the with the exhibitions program, the gallery will also launch a new Artist Residency Program, aiming to nurture the nascent talent of local, regional, and international artists.

The spacious new gallery building will also feature an Art Shop, offering democratically priced prints, photographs, ceramics, sculpture, and art journals, aimed at supporting a new generation of art buyers and emerging collectors.

Visitors will also be able to explore the latest collections of luxury Danish jewelry brand Monies, through the first commercial outlet of this acclaimed design label within Turkey.

The new location will definitely help us achieve our goals more effectively. With its unique history and significant heritage, Karaköy recently has become a hub for the contemporary art scene, so this will increase the awareness of the new gallery and will help us reach more people.

Swaantje Güntzel, Discounter Still Life, 2013/Courtesy of Anna Laudel Contemporary

Can you tell us a little about the inaugural exhibition?

Curated by Isabel Bernheimer, founder of Bernheimer Contemporary, the group show When Did We Stop Playing? will mark the first exhibition at the new gallery space. The multi-artist show features the work of artists including Peter Alasztics, Blue and Joy – Daniele Sigalot, Alexander Deubl, Swaantje Güntzel, Felix Höfner, Sebastian Klug, Jan Kuck, Milana Schoeller, Ludovic Thiriez, and Johannes Vetter.

Through framing the question ‘When Did We Stop Playing?,’ the exhibition aims to explore the great, universal game of life in our shared, contemporary existence. Sometimes we make the rules of this game, but most of the time we are being ruled by it. As we deem our lives to be more important and more serious, we begin to lose a sense of playfulness. Yet a life without joy is not worth living. That is why Isabel Bernheimer, the curator, thought, it is time to ask ourselves, in all seriousness, when did we stop playing?

When Did We Stop Playing? deals with the intriguing dichotomy of play being at once both genuine and joyful but always responsible and suspenseful. The exhibition will be on display between December 16, 2016 and February 12, 2017.

Alexander Deubl, (S)triptychon, 2015/Courtesy of Anna Laudel Contemporary

What can art enthusiasts look forward to in the new gallery’s upcoming program?

In the upcoming exhibition program, we will have some very established and internationally well-known names to display at the gallery. There will be fabulous works from both contemporary and modern art, which we believe will attract all art lovers.

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