Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art

Istanbul Biennial


Istanbul Biennials 1987 - 2001


1st Biennial

General Coordinator, curator: Beral Madra

Participants: 67 artists from Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Yugoslavia. Additionally, there were special exhibitions from Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Yugoslavia.



2nd Biennial

General Coordinator, curator: Beral Madra

Theme: Contemporary Art in Traditional Spaces

Venues: Hagia Eirene Museum, Yerebatan Cistern and one of the adjunct buildings of the Süleymaniye Mosque

Participants: 110 artists from Austria, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, Yugoslavia.



3rd Biennial

Director: Vasif Kortun

Theme: Production of Cultural Difference - an umbrella concept under which individual countries had their own curated shows based directly on this concept or on its interpretations.

Venue: Feshane, former 19th century textile plant

Participants: 65 artists from 15 countries.



4th Biennial

Director: Fulya Erdemci

Artistic director: René Block

Theme: ORIENT/ATION, The Vision of Art in a Paradoxical World

Venues: Antrepo 4 (a former customs warehouse by the Bosphorus), Hagia Eirene Museum and the Yerebatan Cistern

Participants: 119 artists from 47 countries. The selection has been focused on artists from the cultural diaspora.



5th Biennial

Artistic director: Rosa Martínez

Theme: On Life, Beauty, Translations And Other Difficulties

Venues: Darphane (old Imperial Mint located inside the Topkapi Palace gardens), Hagia Eireni Museum, Yerebatan Cistern and the Women's Library and Information Center; the Atatürk Airport, Sirkeci and Haydarpasa Train Stations and the Leander Tower.

Participants: 86 artists from 38 countries.



6th Biennial

Artistic director: Paolo Colombo

Theme: The Passion and The Wave

After the strong earthquake on 17 August, the organizer decided to hold the exhibition in the hope that it can help in the "healing and in the reconstruction processes".

Participants: 56 artists from 31 countries.



7th Biennial

Artistic director: Yuko Hasegawa

Theme: Egofugal: Fugue from Ego for the Next Emergence

Venues: Imperial Mint, Hagia Eirene Museum and the Yerebatan Cistern

Participants: 63 artists from 25 countries. Also hosted the UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts.




We have compiled this overview based on the information of the Istanbul Biennial's website.

Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art