|Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey - Watercolour on paper|
Beylerbeyi Palace is one of those remarkable Ottoman royal residences that can be found along the Bosphorus. We were lucky enough to secure it for an exhibition that we opened this last week. The exhibition area is in a tunnel that runs underneath the length of the building and actually used to be main route of access for traffic coming down side of the Bosphorus to Uskudar.
All this might sound quite romantic but opening an art show down there needed a lot of work. To start with it was damp which means that watercolour pictures need to be sandwiched in glass and sealed with silicon. The space needed lighting too which required getting a local electrician to wire in our flood lights with just hours to spare. There was also a lot of space to fill and hanging pictures on the wall was trying. One can't drill into the walls of an Ottoman architectural treasure so we utilised old nails that had been in the walls for many years and fishing line purchased just up the road from the old men who supply Bosphorus fishermen.
Whilst working on this I must confess to dreaming wistfully of the ease of exhibiting in other modern purpose built spaces where lighting, hanging and conditions are so much easier. The opening evening however, was fairly spectacular, the venue came to life in the late summer sunlight of an Istanbul evening, the tunnel with lights and classical music was a remarkable space. All in all it was an exhausting event but the small band of artists that make up the Istanbul Forum of the Arts managed to pull off an impressive opening again. I should heartily thank Üsküdar Municipal Government and Beylerbeyi Palace for their sponsorship of this event (we called it the Üsküdar Biennale), their generous provision of the venue, the cocktail and transport for activities that were put on for participating artists this week was much appreciated.