Despite the pandemic, art galleries have gathered under the roof of the Taksim 360 Project for the second edition of Step Istanbul for a five-day fair.

The second edition of Step Istanbul is being held between November 18 to 22, 2020 at Taksim 360 Project. Step Istanbul is a multi-gallery art showcase that aims to bring art to masses with accessible price points ranging from 500 TL ($65) to 20,000 TL ($2,594).

A general view from the Galeri 77 space.
A general view from the Galeri 77 space. (Selin Alemdar / TRTWorld)

The first edition of Step Istanbul was held in 2019 with the cooperation of Contemporary Istanbul and Tomtom Designhood. This year, it is being held with the sponsorship of Ford Otosan in the Tarlabasi neighbourhood in Taksim under strict coronavirus precautions. All visitors are required to present a HES (‘Hayat Eve Sigar’) code at the entrance and the number of people who can enter any space is limited by the square footage of the gallery.

Visiting hours are 1 pm-3 pm [1st slot]; 3:30 pm-5:30pm [2nd slot] and 6pm-8pm [3rd slot]. Between the slots there will be a hygiene check in all galleries.

Goksu Gul’s ‘Jungle Cat’ is painted on a car hood and can be viewed at the Ford space.
Goksu Gul’s ‘Jungle Cat’ is painted on a car hood and can be viewed at the Ford space. (Selin Alemdar / TRTWorld)

For those unable to visit the galleries in person, there is Step Online, a virtual space for over 800 artworks by more than 350 artists presented in Step Istanbul by 24 galleries, accessible at https://www.stepistanbul.com.tr/step-online/.

The news conference at Taksim 360 brought together Cagdas Istanbul and Contemporary Istanbul Vice Chairperson Rabia Bakici Gureli, Tomtom Designhood Chairman Hakan Kodal, Contemporary Istanbul Foundation Chairman Ali Gureli and on behalf of Taksim 360 Gap Construction Deputy General Manager Gonca Ozgul, who discussed how the pandemic affected art and artists and how activities to support art and artists are of such importance.

Kubra Boy’s sculpture at the Mixer Arts space.
Kubra Boy’s sculpture at the Mixer Arts space. (Selin Alemdar / TRTWorld)

Contemporary Istanbul Vice Chairperson Rabia Bakici Gureli says that last year’s Step Istanbul targeted art enthusiasts under the age of 35. This year, at a time when art markets are at a standstill, they are trying to bring together young people with art as well as support artists mentally and financially. She says that people can easily browse the galleries on a side street closed to traffic in open air, without any worries about the pandemic. “We need to support art to continue life, because life is art.”

Sarp Kerem Yavuz’s work at the Anna Laudel Gallery space.
Sarp Kerem Yavuz’s work at the Anna Laudel Gallery space. (Selin Alemdar / TRTWorld)

Tomtom Designhood Chairman Hakan Kodal says “The exhibition … aims to be one that shows the way to art collection to young people, and to popularise art to a wider audience. As Tomtom Designhood one of the most special activities we design along with design, art, music and such creative platforms is Step Istanbul. As we have been saying all along, this exhibition will soon become an enthusiastically followed activity on international art platforms, on its own platform.” 

Kodal says that he along with Rabia and Ali Gureli are planning to expand to locations other than Istanbul, and that with the pandemic, they have sped up their efforts. “Moreover, we invite art lovers to visit Tomtom after 360 Project, and then to head on over to Karakoy on an Art Walk, visit the beautiful streets of Istanbul and enjoy art in open air while supporting young artists.”

I Have No Borders by Leyla Emadi in cement and Probability made with dice by Candas Sisman, at the Vision Art Platform space.
I Have No Borders by Leyla Emadi in cement and Probability made with dice by Candas Sisman, at the Vision Art Platform space. (Selin Alemdar / TRTWorld)

Contemporary Istanbul Foundation Chairman Ali Gureli points out that Turkey and the whole world are going through a tough time. From our own perspective, art and artists have been greatly affected [by the pandemic]. Expos have been postponed, the uncertainty of not being able to see what lies ahead has pushed everyone into desperation. As Contemporary Istanbul Foundation, set up during the last months of 2019, we decided we needed to do something.”

Ali Gureli announces there will be a Festival of Light between December 4-31 from many squares in Istanbul with 39 artists and more than 50 artworks. There will be light installations, digital installations and mapping shows.

The colourful Red Art Istanbul space at Step Istanbul. The motorcycle helmet customised by Serdar Akkilic, one of the gallery’s artists, with a Snoopy drawing is not for sale.
The colourful Red Art Istanbul space at Step Istanbul. The motorcycle helmet customised by Serdar Akkilic, one of the gallery’s artists, with a Snoopy drawing is not for sale. (Selin Alemdar / TRTWorld)

Gap Construction Deputy General Manager Gonca Ozgul, speaking on behalf of Taksim 360 Project, says that the space was designed to be a centre of attraction and to provide for commercial, social and cultural needs. “From the first day we started this project, we aimed to bring to life ‘a living street’ concept on Taksim 360’s historical street and avenues,” she adds. 

Commenting that they are proud to host Step Istanbul, one of the most important art shows in Istanbul, she concludes by saying “we invite all art lovers to Taksim 360’s streets, designed with the pandemic in mind and with all precautions taken.”

Nilay Ozenbay’s sculptures at the Artopol space.
Nilay Ozenbay’s sculptures at the Artopol space. (Selin Alemdar / TRTWorld)
Source: TRT World