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Even though Istanbul’s Dolapdere neighborhood is still unraveling slowly to expose its potential as one of the city’s main centres of art and culture, the opening of Dirimart has made quite the headway in that particular direction. The largest commercial art space in Istanbul, the second branch of the Dirimart art gallery is a beautiful edifice of modern architecture and interior design principles.
Founded in 2002 by Hazer Özil, Dirimart gallery has had its fair share of influence in Istanbul’s growing art scene. It came as no surprise that for their second gallery, Özil looked abroad to find the perfect vision for the city’s largest commercial art space. In the end, it was architect and founder of Studio MDA in New York, Markus Dochantschi, who turned the 1000 square meter space into a modern haven for art.
With a flexible outlook, the German-Iranian architect created a space with a system of sliding walls, hung from concrete ceilings, which can be rearranged according to the needs of each exhibition. The art space, housed on the ground floor of the metal-solar-shade-clad DLP No.1 building also has an outside sculpture garden and offices. The gallery’s glass walls were also created in order to invite neighborhood residents to enter the contemporary art gallery without a sense of intimidation.
The gallery’s first exhibition, Surface and Beyond, was on view until July 30th and inaugurated the space with the work of renowned local and international artists such as Sarah Morris, Haluk Akakçe, Tomás Saraceno, Isaac Julien and more. All the artworks, from paintings to sculptures to films, focused on a visual journey beyond the surface, with political, social, and religious subtexts.
Dirimart’s first gallery, located in the city’s main fashion neighborhood of Nişantaşı, not only exhibits the work of young and established Turkish artists, but also a select list of international names. With participation in international art fairs, Dirimart has also made its mark in helping to promote Turkish art abroad, and with their non-commercial RES Art World / World Art magazine in English, they’ve also set themselves apart in the publishing world.
Past exhibitions have included the work of Egyptian artist Ghada Amer, who’s known for her erotic embroideries, English graphic painter Sarah Morris, German painter Franz Ackermann, Barbadian mixed-media artist Ashley Bickerton, and the photography of famous Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, to name a few.