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2nd Mardin Biennial

The second edition of the Mardin Biennial was held between 21 September–21 October 2012.


Tokmakçılar Mansion, Mardin
The first edition of the Mardin Biennial entitled “Abbara Kadabra” was sponsored by the Governorship of Mardin and The Southeastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP). The exhibition was inspired by “abbara”s, the historic architectural structures found in Mardin, that are thousands of years old, providing gateways both into the public and private spaces. Through the use of the term “abbara” in its title, the biennial emphasized the dialectical relationship between the public and the private, a subject that was ignored by the city hundreds of years ago. The 2nd edition of the biennial took place between 21 September-21 October 2012, under the curatorship of Paolo Colombo and Lora Sarıaslan. Members of the Mardin Biennial’s Advisory Board were Şenol Koca, Gül Gemalmaz, Döne Otyam, Ayşegül Sönmez, Ferhat Özgür and Hakan Irmak. The exhibitions, panel discussions, conferences and workshops running concurrently with the biennial provided an opportunity for the visitors to follow current developments and topical discussions in the world of art, and to attend complementary educational programs. SAHA has provided support for the project expenses of Fatih Akın, Fikret Atay, Sami Baydar, Hakan Irmak - Nurullah Gürhan, Seyit Battal Kurt, Tekin Oktay, Murat Şahinler and Nasra Şimmes who participated in the 2nd Mardin Biennial.

About the Curators

Paolo Colombo and Lora Sarıaslan

The 2nd Mardin Biennial was curated by Paolo Colombo and Lora Sarıaslan.

Paolo Colombo, art advisor for Istanbul Modern, and Lora Sarıaslan, who has worked as curator at Istanbul Modern between 2005–2011 were invited by the Biennial’s Advisory Board to take on the curatorship of the 2nd Mardin Biennial. Paolo Colombo
Paolo Colombo was the curator of the 6th Istanbul Biennial (1999). He also served as the curator for MAXII Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo in Rome and was the director of Centre d’Art Contemporain in Genève in 1989-2000. Among the exhibitions he curated are solo shows by Juan Muñoz, Nan Goldin, Pipilotti Rist, Gillian Wearing, Kara Walker, Zaha Hadid and Margherita Manzelli. Colombo is currently working as art advisor for Istanbul Modern. Lora Sarıaslan
The Istanbul-born art historian and curator Lora Sarıaslan has worked for İstanbul Modern from 2005 to 2011. She curated “Life in the UK / Balance of Probabilities” exhibition as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2011. She was curatorial assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art, USA in 2001–2005. Sarıaslan has been the national correspondent at European Museum Forum since December, 2009.

About the Mardin Biennial

General view from the 1st Mardin Biennial

The Mardin Biennial aims to introduce another dimension to the concept of “the center” by transporting Turkey’s Istanbul-centered contemporary art to Eastern Anatolia.

The Mardin Biennial was initiated to transform the historically and culturally rich city of Mardin into one of the new centers of contemporary art, competing with the likes of Istanbul, Sao Paolo and Venice. The first biennial in Mardin took place between 4 June–5 July 2010. Curated by Döne Otyam, this first edition was realized at spaces and venues where the city’s architecture merge with the local everyday life, thus offering a peculiar and intense experience for contemporary artists. The biennial aims to transport Turkey’s West-centered contemporary art to the East, to contribute towards the mobility and production of local artists, academics, students and various cultural communities, and to create new platforms for discussion and interaction through the introduction of a new dimension to the concept of “the center”. For further information on the Mardin Biennial:
mardinbienali.org