The Istanbul Shipyards Photo: Orhan Pamuk. Courtesy of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts.

Istanbul Biennial Forced to Change Venues Due to Construction Delays

The sixteenth edition of the Istanbul Biennial, which is scheduled to open to the public on September 14 and to run through November 10, must find a new venue for a portion of its programming. The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts revealed on Wednesday, August 7, that the exhibition will no longer be held at the historic six-hundred-year-old Istanbul Shipyards, which was supposed to serve as its main location.

Founded in the city’s Golden Horn harbor by Sultan Mehmet in 1455, the shipyards, which have been abandoned for many years, are part of a major redevelopment project that will create new housing, public buildings, and infrastructure at the site over the next decade. However, the discovery of toxic asbestos at the site has caused construction delays. The biennial would have been the first public event ever to be held there.

Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud and titled “The Seventh Continent,” the exhibition will feature fifty-seven artists and collectives hailing from twenty-six countries. The event will procced with its plans to stage the biennial at its other two locations—the Pera Museum and Büyükada Island, which is about an hour away from the city center and accessible via ferry—and will announce a third location at a later date.