The Contemporary Art Fair has undoubtedly played an important role in making a world recognised art market out of Istanbul in their attempt of creating a ‘sexy’ art fair, appealing to everyone in such a short time and thereby bringing the important global art actors into the scene. On the occasion of its 9th year, we had a chat with the Founder and Chairman Mr. Ali Güreli about how it all started and where it stands today.
Mr. Güreli could you please tell us how your interest for art was initiated.
The initiation of my relationship with art goes back to my higher education years. I have studied Business Management at ODTU University in Ankara, and then went to Paris to pursue my masters degree. The charm of Paris was stronger than the master’s degree itself; coincidentally I found myself indulged into a very rich art scene. I had the opportunity to meet all of the Turkish artists that lived in Paris at the time. We also visited regularly all the regions where art galleries were located, and took part in all the arts activities. I had the opportunity to meet many artists and gallerists. Centre Pompidou was newly founded at the time and it was the centre of attention. We attended all the exhibitions there. To be a part of the latter was a privilege. We were three friends and all of us were highly infatuated with art; later on, Güllü Aybar who was one of those three became the Director of one of the most influential galleries in Istanbul of the time, Urart Gallery. And our other friend, Faruk Sade founded the Siyah Beyaz Gallery in Ankara. This year Siyah Beyaz is celebrating its 30th anniversary and will be presenting its 30th year book at the fair. It became one of the most important galleries in Turkey. So this was how it all started.