Are You Ready To Get Tired?

The first and rather tiring route of art lovers who come to Istanbul: Galatasaray-Tunnel-Şişhane

Beyoğlu is the essential address of every visitor to Istanbul. However, saying Beyoğlu does not mean just the İstiklal Boulevard from the Taksim Square to the Galatasaray High School. That route is attractive to shoppers at most. We recommend Tarlabaşı for photography bugs, the Tomtom Neighborhood for those in pursuit of something different, Galata to history fans and the Galatasaray-Tunnel-Şişhane route to art lovers.

Pass through Taksim Square and blend in the hectic crowds on İstiklal Boulevard… If you are determined not to be caught up by the attraction of the various shops, a new one of which is opening every day, then your first stop is: the Istanbul French Cultural Center, where you can always find something interesting. Just after that is the Akbank Art Gallery. The space is dominated by the 29th “Contemporary Artists Istanbul Exhibition” during whole August which draws young artists to the Turkish contemporary art scene every year. You have left behind the Garanti Gallery-Platform Garanti, of which the library is worth seeing, then you are ready for the real adventure.

There is a large but unostentatious building in the Galatasaray Square: the Yapı Kredi Culture Art Center. It is not possible to pass by without seeing the Kazım Taşkent Art Gallery facing İstiklal Boulevard. Don’t ever leave without going inside to visit the Sermet Çifter Exhibition Hall and the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum. These days on display is the burial room of Tatar Tumulus, which is one of the important examples of the art of wood painting from the Dark Ages that has reached us today. You can visit this exhibition which gives important information about the life and beliefs of people who lived in Anatolia in the fifth century B.C. until the end of September.

Next in line is the Mısır Apartment which is both large and ostentatious. There is a surprise on every floor… We recommend that you take the elevator to the top floor and, taking the stairs to go down, stopping at every gallery you find on your right and left. Istanbul’s notable galleries -the Galerist, Galeri Nev, Casa Dell’ Arte and CDA Project- are here.

A little further on are the latest favorites of Istanbul contemporary art circles –Arter: A Place for Art and the Borusan Music House. At the entrance to Arter you will immediately notice a huge green tank that expands and contracts, moving slowly meanwhile. The tank or the ‘Starter’ is one of the more than 160 works of 87 artists from the fiirst exhibition ever held here. More specifically, it is Michael Sailstorfer’s “T 72.”
The exhibition that we enter from the door on the side street because of the tank is just a part of the Vehbi Koç Foundation’s contemporary art collection. The rest of the collection will come in parts after September 19th. If we say that the curator of the exhibition is René Block, you can understand that the works of artists like Joseph Beuys, John Cage and Nam June Paik await you inside.

Just across from the Arter there is an exciting exhibition at the Borusan Music House. “Matter—Light.” Richard Castelli whose work is based in Paris was the curator of the exhibition that contains works with technological themes that push the limits of perception. October 9th is the last date you can see the display which is spread out on all floors of the building.

After seeing this many works of art you are tired… Especially if you have attempted to read all the labels on the art work, you are really in need of catching your breath. At this stage the cafés with stools on the side streets to the right and left of İstiklal Boulevard will come to your rescue. A refreshing note: Most of them have begun their lemonade service.

You rested and cooled off. Now the Pera Museum is your destination. In the museum where we have seen the plump figures of Fernando Botero during the spring and all summer long, there are two new exhibitions: “Hirayama” and “Japan Media Arts.” One suggestion: If you are going to the museum for the first time, don’t leave without seeing Osman Hamdi Bey’s “Turtle Trainer” in the main corner of the permanent collection.
After having a look at the Istanbul Research Institute and the Petits-Champs Passage on Meşrutiyet Boulevard, then let yourself wander towards the Tunnel from İstiklal Boulevard or the side streets of Tepebaşı.

If the colorful street leading to the Galata Tower and the Galata Mevlevihanesi try and turn you back from your path, don’t pay any attention. They are the stars of another route.

Our destination is the stairway leading down from the Tunnel stop of the tramway to Şişhane. You’re not sorry, are you? All kinds of cafés spilling onto the streets, bubbling crowds and a languor of good conversation…

Yes, you are in Şişhane. Istanbul’s new cultural-art-entertainment- pleasure- design center… This is a different world here with the magnificent historical buildings, mostly constructed in the 20th century, and uphill streets. Of course, the Taksim-Maslak metro line connecting to Şişhane has a lot to do with our discovering this world. But the real turning point was reached with the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Art’s (İKSV) moving in recent months to the Deniz Palas Apartment in this area.

With its seven floors, the Deniz Palas suddenly became the district’s art shrine. There is a work of art wherever you extend your hand in the building. At the entrance, Sarkis’ “Göbek Bağı (Close Ties)” greets guests. While going up the steps, you meet Selim Birsel’s “Başak Tarlaları (Wheat Fields).” Canan Tolon’s lighted mirrors await those who choose the stairs instead of the elevator. The different colored venetian blinds that Ayşe Erkmen placed in the windows whisper to those outside, “Something unusual is happening here.” Yang Jiechang is the permanent guest of the terrace. The artist’s neon placement entitled “I Believe in Angels,” which he created for the 10th International Istanbul Biannual, challenges the heavens.

In the building you can continue following the trail of works of 22 artists including Aydan Murtezaoğlu, Canan Dağdelen, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, İnci Eviner, Gülsün Karamustafa, Komet and Ömer Uluç. There are two things you should not forget: The first is the design shop at the entrance and the other is the “Leyla Gencer House” on the second floor.
It’s probably evening. Now is just the time to go to one of the Şişhane cafés that have spilled into the streets and try some different tastes from the Indian Cuisine to Thailand flavors…

The new route of art lovers begins at the Galatasaray High School, passes through the Tunnel and ends at Şişhane. It is a little tiring, but it is worth trying.

There is an exciting exhibition in the Borusan Music House: “Matter-Light.” October 9th is the last date to view the display which houses works with technological themes that will strain the limits of your perception.

Pleasing to the eye with its magnificent historical buildings and inclined streets, Şişhane has many delightful tastes to offer from the Indian Kitchen to Thailand flavors.