CI Bloom to put spotlight on contemporary art, NFTs in Istanbul

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and crypto culture will take over the month of May as Contemporary Istanbul presents a new fair to Istanbulite art enthusiasts. In partnership with Akbank, the foundation will welcome spring with its new art fair, CI Bloom, in Tersane Istanbul.

Bringing together 23 contemporary art galleries in Turkey, CI Bloom will take place on the banks of the Golden Horn in the historical atmosphere of Istanbul on May 10-11 in preview, on May 12-15 as fair days.

A work by Sarkis from Dirimart Gallery.

What you will find at the newest fair, which aims to continue energizing the art market, is contemporary art. Reflecting Istanbul’s growing role as a global cultural powerhouse, the fair will showcase the country’s top galleries and works by many remarkable Turkish and international artists, both established and emerging ones.

Noting that after two years full of uncertainty and frustration, the art world is ready to bloom again, Contemporary Istanbul Chairperson Ali Güreli said: “The last two editions of Contemporary Istanbul, which were held amid pandemic-related travel restrictions, proved that the local art market has become strong enough to have two fairs. We see more people getting interested in contemporary art and more young collectors coming to the fair.”

Highlights of CI Bloom

As the world moves toward a new digital space, many disciplines follow suit, including art. NFTs also appear as a big part of this development in the digital space and quickly became a rising attraction in the art world.

“Infinite Sculpture” by Marion Verboom from The Pill.

An NFT is a piece of digital content or data linked to a blockchain (or digital ledger), providing it with proof of ownership. It can be a picture, video, an audio file or music. Since one thing the art world can’t do now is ignore NFTs, the next week’s biggest buzzword will also be these digital assets in Istanbul with CI Bloom.

The program of Contemporary Istanbul’s CI Bloom will also lend a special place to NFTs throughout the week. Special attention will be given to NFT art with a two-day event that will bring together Turkish and international experts who will talk about the potential, risks and future of NFT. One of CI Bloom’s main objectives is to get people more familiar with digital art and emerging forms of collecting.

While the concept of NFT art has been so popularized around the world, more and more galleries are focusing on NFT projects, as well. Some even have developed their own platforms. Although some enthusiasts have swarmed the NFT industry, these digital assets still represent a brave new world for many dealers who are used to doing business on gentlemen’s agreements. The future for NFTs may be uncertain and their abundance in Istanbul in the next weeks with CI Bloom will surely mark their infusion that the art world can no longer ignore.

“Untitled” by Vav Hakobyan from Galeri 77.

Another special event to honor NFTs will be a remarkable exhibition at the fair. Jointly curated by the Museum of Contemporary Digital Art (MoCDA) and ha:ar collective, comprising of sculptor Hande Şekerciler and new media artist Arda Yalkın, “Digital Horizons: The New State of the Art” will feature 28 works selected from the collection of 14 international collectors. The exhibition aims to show the current state of digital art in the context of collecting NFTs, which is a practice that has already changed the way artworks are made, presented and curated.

Among CI Bloom participant galleries are Ambidexter, Anna Laudel, Art On Istanbul, artSümer, Bozlu Art Project, Büro Sarıgedik, C.A.M. Galeri, Dirimart, Ferda Art Platform, Galeri 77, MERKÜR, Galeri Siyah Beyaz, Galerist, Martch Art Project, Öktem Aykut, Pg Art Gallery, Pi Artworks, Piramid Sanat, Sanatorium, The Pill, Vision Art Platform, x-ist and Zilberman Gallery.

The participating galleries have been selected by the CI Bloom Selection Committee, comprised of some of the key figures of the Istanbul art world, including Yeşim Turanli of Pi Artworks, Adnan Yerebakan of Sanatorium, Moiz Zilberman of Zilberman, Tankut Aykut and Doğa Öktem of Öktem Aykut, Suela Cennet of The Pill and Oktay Duran of ArtOn.

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