GeriGündem Artists converge in Istanbul art fair
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Artists converge in Istanbul art fair

Artists converge in Istanbul art fair
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ISTANBUL - Hundreds of artists from around the world have convened for the 18th annual TÜYAP Istanbul Art Fair running along side the book fair until Sunday.

They say the fair offers a sense of community and a chance to gain exposure, and other ideas and styles enrich them.

Not long ago, two men from Samsun, one Greek, the other Turkish, met at a human rights conference for artists in a small Greek town, three hours west of Athens. When they learned that they both had roots in Samsun, they embraced and cried.

The story of Deniz Han Özer and Sotiris Iosifidis is testament to how common roots, and more importantly art, can bring people together. This week at the annual art exhibition at Istanbul’s TÜYAP Art Fair, among the hundreds of different works of art from around the world, hangs one painting with a message of peace.

Iosifidis told the Hürriyet Daily News that when Özer invited him to the TÜYAP event last month, he felt he had to bring a piece that said something. One night at two in the morning he pulled the sheet off his bed and started his anti-war manifesto. When he was done, he rolled it up and boarded the plane for Istanbul for the first time.

“This work is not about Turkey,” said Iosifidis. “It is about humanity.”

His work is a study on how wars, like the well known story of Troy, were fought for love. His piece, he said, reveals this contradiction and makes the statement; “Not by war.” Above the writing on his painting a pair of white underwear replaces the white flag of peace and takes on a meaning of love and attraction, Iosifidis explains. At the end of the day, everyone is looking for love, not war, he added.

“When I hung the painting here, I realized how important the message was,” said Iosifidis. “Since I became friends with other Turkish artists, I better understood the value of my artistic message.”

Artist camaraderie
Iosifidis is one of the nearly 170 artists displaying their work at TÜYAP, which runs until Sunday in conjunction with the TÜYAP Book Fair. A Bulgarian native, Vassil Stoyev told the Daily News that this was his second time at the event, which has been held annually for the last 18 years.

“I like the fair atmosphere, the artists, their paintings, sculptures,” Stoyev said, “But especially the contact with other artists and people who like art.”

Stoyev, whose unique painting style juxtaposing blocks of paint with texture, has taken him around the world, most notably to Sotheby’s in London. He said the ability to meet other artists and discuss ideas was central for him and that he especially appreciated what Turkish artists have to say.

Other ideas enrich them
“We have good exchanges and they want to give and contribute to us,” he said. “We are enriched when we talk and see other ideas and styles.”

The fair is known for its more casual and unpretentious attitude toward art, said one of the fair organizers from the non-profit Koridor Contemporary Art Program, Özer. He explained that the main purpose of the TÜYAP event was for artists to show their work and get to know each other.

“There is no star artist here,” he said, explaining that the primary audience was the artistic community and that everyone contributed to the fair.

“This energy brings us close… we are artists and we want dialogue,” he said. “To sell our work and show it in museums and galleries, that is what makes us happy and this art fair gives us that opportunity.”

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