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  • May 06, 2021

Istanbul Biennial Delayed Until 2022

Installation view of the 16th Istanbul Biennial on the Büyükada Island, near Istanbul, 2019. Courtesy Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV).

The Istanbul Biennial has postponed the physical exhibition of its 17th edition, following the recent surge in Turkey’s Covid-19 cases. According to a statement released on May 5, the 2021 edition, originally slated to open in September, is now rescheduled to September 17–November 20, 2022. 

The decision is made by the Biennial’s organizer, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), in agreement with its curators Ute Meta Bauer, Amar Kanwar, and David Teh, as well as the partners and participants. The Biennial stated that it will continue to “act as a seedbed” for a selection of other projects which will run through the rest of 2021 as planned, despite the postponement of the physical events. The details of these projects are yet to be announced. 

The curatorial direction of the Biennial was recently revealed in March. Centered on the idea of a “composting” process, it will “rethink the purposes and potential” of international festivals in face of the challenges of Covid-19. Exhibitions, programs, and dialogues will be organized into six categories: Geo-poetics/Elemental Politics, News, Pedagogy, Ancient Solutions, Synaesthesia, and An-archiving. 

Turkey has seen a dramatic increase in coronavirus infections since March. The country currently has the highest number of daily cases in Europe, with more than 60,000 cases reported per day at the end of April. Recently, the government imposed a three-week full lockdown beginning on April 29 to control the infection rates. At time of writing, Turkey has reported more than 4.9 million Covid-19 cases and over 41,000 deaths, with around 12 percent of the population now fully vaccinated.

Cassie Liu is editorial assistant at ArtAsiaPacific.

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