Art Radar profiles 4 young collections making waves in Turkey.

Turkey’s vibrant contemporary art scene has been encouraging a new generation of collectors to emerge.

2. Billur-Atilla Tacir Collection

Marcus Graf explains in his essay accompanying the exhibition that the Billur-Atilla Tacir Collection is characterised by “expressive gestures and multi-layered aesthetics” that reflect “ the heterogeneity and pluralism of today’s reality constructions”. The collection began in 2006 when founders Billur and Atilla Tacir bought their first work. Although not limiting themselves to specific aesthetics, content, media or subjects, they share a common interest in sculpture. Their collection spans both domestic and international artists, such as:

Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, "Young Collectors 2" (27 March - 16 May 2015), installation view of Billur-Atilla Tacir Collection, with works by Antoine Roegiers, Daniel Sinsel, Ahmet Doğu İpek, Friederich Kunath, Leopold Rabus, Marius Bercea and Mehmet Ali Uysal. Image courtesy Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, “Young Collectors 2” (27 March – 16 May 2015), installation view of Billur-Atilla Tacir Collection, with works by Antoine Roegiers, Daniel Sinsel, Ahmet Doğu İpek, Friederich Kunath, Leopold Rabus, Marius Bercea and Mehmet Ali Uysal. Image courtesy Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

The couple spoke to Graf about the element of passion which, they believe, is a necesssity when collecting:

Ever since we first began to collect, we have had the opportunity to meet very important collectors here and abroad. While each collection shows variety in terms of content and media, we find that all have a common quality, and that is passion. We can say that we live through this every day.

Seçkin Pirim, Untitled, 2013, 100 pieces 300 gr Bristol paper, 92 x 222 cm. Şeli-Alber Elvaşvili Collection. Acquisition date: 2013. Image courtesy the Collection and Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

Seçkin Pirim, ‘Untitled’, 2013, 100 pieces 300 gr Bristol paper, 92 x 222 cm. Şeli-Alber Elvaşvili Collection. Acquisition date: 2013. Image courtesy the Collection and Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

3. Şeli-Alber Elvaşvili Collection

Şeli-Alber Elvaşvili first became interested in painting during high school – his friend’s mother collected works by Fikret Mualla, Burhan Doğançay and Erol Akyavaş. Elvaşvili says he follows Turkish contemporary artists through local channels, by reading local magazines, going to exhibitions, visiting galleries and attending auctions. His collection holds both Turkish and international artists, including works featured in this exhibition by:

Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, "Young Collectors 2" (27 March - 16 May 2015), installation view of Şeli-Alber Elvaşvili Koleksiyonu, with works by Seçkin Pirim, Ebru Uygun, Ahmet Oran, Ömer Uluç and İsmet Doğan. Image courtesy Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, “Young Collectors 2” (27 March – 16 May 2015), installation view of Şeli-Alber Elvaşvili Koleksiyonu, with works by Seçkin Pirim, Ebru Uygun, Ahmet Oran, Ömer Uluç and İsmet Doğan. Image courtesy Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

Elvaşvili told Graf about the importance of connecting personally with an artwork:

What is important to me is the artist’s authentic expression and the feeling they invoke in me. In this sense, I can say that I am an emotional investor. Sometimes I am also influenced by the artists’ stories. […] Investing in works where I find traces of my own life is almost like keeping a diary.

Mel Bochner, 'Blah Blah Blah', 2014, monoprint with collage, engraving and embossment on hand-dyed Twinrocker handmade paper, 58.4 x 78.1 cm. İrem-Sina Kınay Collection. Acquisition date: 2014. Image courtesy the Collection and Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

Mel Bochner, ‘Blah Blah Blah’, 2014, monoprint with collage, engraving and embossment on hand-dyed Twinrocker handmade paper, 58.4 x 78.1 cm. İrem-Sina Kınay Collection. Acquisition date: 2014. Image courtesy the Collection and Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

4. İrem-Sina Kınay Collection

The İrem-Sina Kınay Collection holds Turkish, European and American art, and has recently shifted its focus to East Asian art. The collectors visit galleries and museums on their worldwide travels, and attend important international events, such as art fairs like Art Basel Hong Kong. The young couple were influenced by their families, who collected works by modern Turkish painters in the 1990s, such as Ömer Uluç, Mehmet Güleryüz and Neşe Erdok, as well as 18th to turn of the 20th century art.

İrem and Sina Kınay’s contemporary collection includes artists such as:

  • Cao Xiaodong
  • Cecil Beaton
  • Chen Yu
  • Jiang Shuo
  • Mel Bochner
  • Murat Germen
  • Zhu Yi Yong
Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, "Young Collectors 2" (27 March - 16 May 2015), installation view of İrem-Sina Kınay Collection, with works by Cao Xiaodong, Jiang Shuo, Chen Yu, Zhı Yi Yong, Mel Bochner and Murat Germen. Image courtesy Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, “Young Collectors 2” (27 March – 16 May 2015), installation view of İrem-Sina Kınay Collection, with works by Cao Xiaodong, Jiang Shuo, Chen Yu, Zhı Yi Yong, Mel Bochner and Murat Germen. Image courtesy Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.

The couple spoke to the curator about the relevance of emotion and personal history when collecting art:

I can say that the most important thing for us is visual satisfaction. It cannot be said that we obsess about whether this or that artist has a future or not. In general, we act a little upon inhibition. In that sense, are we true collectors? I do not actually know that, but we really have a story behind each work we collect. In our marriage, there is a story of our togetherness, there’s a story to the places we’ve been to, and I can say that we do collect with a little more emotion. 

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

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Related Topics: Turkish artists, collectors, art investment, museum shows, lists, profiles, contemporary art in Turkey

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Brittney

By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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